DND: PH legal fight vs China will also serve interest of other nations
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense justified President Benigno Aquino III’s call on nations to support the Philippines in defending its territory in the South China Sea.
“We must understand the statement of President Benigno S. Aquino III in light of the Philippine Government’s call to the international community to oppose aggressive acts as they contravene established international conventions,” the DND said in a statement on Tuesday.
It also said that the Philippines’ defense and military establishments have exercised “maximum restraint” in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“Based on the previous occurrences, it is clear that the Philippines has been the object of harassment,” the DND said.
“We believe that in opposing aggressive and expansionist behavior, the Philippines is not only serving its national interests, but also serving the regions as well, including all states which have a stake in freedom of navigation and clear territorial rights as defined under the principles of Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” it added.
The DND’s statement came after a ranking US military officer said in a Bloomberg report that the comments of the Philippines and Japan leaders against in China only escalated tensions.
“The de-escalation of tensions has got to be a multilateral approach and it’s not just one country that needs to de-escalate,” said General Herber Carlisle, commander of US air force in the Pacific.
He urged all nations involved in territorial rows with China in both the East and South China Seas to try to defuse tensions.
In a New York Times interview with Aquino that was published last week, he called on nations to support the Philippines in resisting China’s claims near its waters.
“If we say yes to something we believe is wrong now, what guarantee is there that the wrong will not be further exacerbated down the line?” he said. He later added, “At what point do you say, ‘Enough is enough’? Well, the world has to say it — remember that the Sudetenland was given in an attempt to appease Hitler to prevent World War II,” Aquino was quoted as saying.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, meanwhile, said last month in Switzerland that the relationship between Japan and China is comparable to Germany and Britain before World War I. He pointed out that despite close economic ties, it did not prevent Britain and Germany from going to war.
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