Palace: Why is 'superpower' China insecure of PH?
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is at a loss as to how a superpower like China can be "insecure" of a country like the Philippines.
“We don’t understand where this insecurity of the Chinese towards us is coming from. Where do we have the wherewithal to compete against China as a superpower?” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday, April 22.
Lacierda was reacting to an editorial in a Chinese state-owned tabloid that called the Philippines the “cute little submissive” of the United States, in criticizing its war games with US soldiers against the backdrop of China's continuing reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The Global Times also said of the Philippines, “Of all the countries involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the Philippines is the one with the most tricks up its sleeves, but none of its tricks work."
Since the tabloid is state-owned, the editorial is seen as state-sanctioned.
Lacierda defended the exercises as being good for the nation, adding that “the timing in and of itself should not be a cause for suspicion for any country.”
“We are doing this in the light of our agreements with other countries, with the Balikatan exercises [have] been ongoing for sometime. It is not only for the military exercises, again,” he said.
Lacierda added: “There has been also a noted emphasis on disaster response. So, our Balikatan exercises have been expanded to cover much more than military exercises.”
'That's their opinion'
He disagreed with the Global Times' description of the Philippines.
“We recognize that China wants to make their own comment; that’s their opinion. But we are not bound by their opinion, and we certainly do not agree with how they described us," he said.
He added, "We are doing this for the good of our country and, I think, that our national interest should prevail over whatever comments they have stated," before pointing out that the comments came from a tabloid, as premised in the reporter's question.
The Philippines and China are in the middle of a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines filed a case with an international arbitral tribunal to stake its claim, while China continues its largescale reclamation activities in area, which is believed to be in preparation for building an airstrip on disputed territory.
Meanwhile, Lacierda said public advocacy by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) continues, as it reaches out to other countries to apprise them of the situation with China.
"Our position is well-known. And for that particular reason, you see the response of the United States, you see the response of G7 (Group of Seven) in support for our position. We also see why the 9-dash line theory of the Chinese do not have any legal basis in international law," Lacierda said referring to the demarcation that China uses to claim the South China Sea.
The United States and the rest of the world's 7 most industrialized countries have slammed China for its aggressive reclamation activities. – Rappler.com