Philippine official urges China to be 'responsible and positive force'

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Warning that escalating tensions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) "could lead to conflict," Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario urged China at a foreign policy forum in Tokyo to act responsibly instead of resorting to aggression in the wake of its its rapid rise as an economic and military power in the Asia-Pacific.

In his speech at the Tokyo forum on Thursday, Del Rosario reiterated the Philippines' pursuit of peace in trying to settle its conflict with China over disputed waters in a part of the China Sea that the Manila government refers to as the West Philippine Sea, a dispute highlighted this month by the deployment of Chinese military vessels within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

The text of his speech was released by the foreign office here.

"China, as the second biggest economy in the world with a position of primacy in the region, is very important to the security and prosperity equation in Asia. We must all support China's peaceful rise and hope that China will firmly pursue the track of being a responsible power and a positive force," Del Rosario said.

"Being a responsible power, however, is not without its challenges. The competing territorial and maritime disputes are causing considerable tension that could lead to conflict," he said at the 19th Nikkei Future of Asia Conference, considered the region's premier foreign policy forum gathering Asian ministers and other officials at the Japanese capital on Thursday.

The Philippines' top diplomat noted how the region continues to find a balance toward peace and security amid China's rise, saying that, on the contrary, the presence of the United States, a long-established world power, "has had a stabilising effect" on Asia and the Pacific for decades.

"The rise of new powers has certainly added a new dimension to the geopolitics of Asia and the Pacific. Increasingly relevant to this complex equation is China's growing economic network in the region, its rapid military build-up and its development of blue ocean capabilities. The region, it seems, is still finding the right equilibrium that would ensure long-term peace and security," Del Rosario said.

In the face of an aggressive China, Del Rosario said, the Philippines continued treading the path of peace in hopes of settling the dispute without the use of arms. He said Manila was batting for "diplomacy and peace over conflict," and a "just and durable" solution to the dispute based on international law.

He explained that the Philippines haled China to the United Nations arbitral panel after pursuing other avenues "to no avail."

"Under these circumstances therefore, we must find a durable solution based on international law, or else the status quo will favour military and economic might, and diplomacy will veer toward appeasement. And as we all know, appeasement undermines any attempt to build a system based on equity and rules. Rather than being forced to accept that might is right, we want to show that right is might," Del Rosario said.

Filed in January, the Philippine action seeks to clarify Manila's and Beijing's maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea, stop Chinese incursions into the Philippines' exclusive economic zone and nullify China's "nine-dash line" claim over the waters. China has rejected the proceedings but the legal process will continue.

"Our arbitration case against China's over-extended claim represents a choice the world needs to ponder as regards the future order it seeks for itself - either an international system that is largely dominated by force, or one that is significantly characterised by the rule of law," Del Rosario said.

"Through this case, we also seek an end to the pattern of unlawful, increasingly aggressive assertion based on the threat of use of force, which has prevented us and other littoral states from the lawful exercise of our maritime rights and entitlements within our legitimate maritime zones."

The Philippines this month protested China's deployment of a warship and two maritime surveillance vessels along with several fishing vessels around the Ayungin Shoal (Re'nai Reef for the Chinese), located some 105 nautical miles or 196 kms off Palawan (roughly the distance between Manila and Pangasinan), well within the country's EEZ.

Responding to the diplomatic protest, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China was reiterating its "indisputable sovereignty" over the waters and said patrolling the territories was well within its right.

"The Ren'ai Reef is part of the Nansha Islands (Spratlys). China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. It is beyond reproach that Chinese government vessels carry out normal patrol in relevant waters," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei in a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Nonviolent disciplining of kids pushed

    Child rights advocates called on senators to pass and strongly endorse a law that will institutionalize positive and nonviolent methods of disciplining children.The Child Rights Network (CRN), Plan International Philippines (PIP), Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLPCD), and Lihok Pilipinas Foundation led the call for the enactment of the Positive Discipline Bill.Several Quezon City Council members led by Majority Floor Leader Jesus Manuel Suntay, Victor Ferrer …

  • Method to their madness

    [caption id="attachment_256768" align="alignright" width="212"] Illustration by Rod Cañalita[/caption] EMMANUEL PORTUGAL Country Manager for the Philippines, VMware I look after the garden. I’d like to think that I have a green thumb—no plants have died so far! The ones I like now that I planted a few months ago is the Blue Iris. Like the town in the movie, my Blue Iris shows up in the morning and only appears for one day. …

  • JGFP Summer Tour on today

    The summer tour for local junior golfers kicks off with the holding of the ICTSI-JGFP Baguio Junior Open today and tomorrow at the treacherous Baguio Country Club course in Baguio.Sixty players aged 6 to 17 years old are entered in the 36-hole tourney serving as the opening leg of the summer circuit organized by the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines with the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. Foundation as main sponsor. ... …

  • PH now market ready to absorb infra bonds

    The Philippine market is now ready to absorb infrastructure bonds that will be issued by private companies amid a growing pipeline of infra-related projects under the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program. President Benigno Aquino III last week said the government is still committed to spend more on the country’s infrastructure, with 16 PPP projects currently on the pipeline and nine that have already been awarded. Over the years, some of the country’s biggest infrastructure …

  • Filipinos are saving more – BSP survey

    More Filipinos have the extra cash to save for that proverbial rainy day, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Philippines (BSP). Based on a quarterly survey on consumer confidence, domestic households with savings have the means to increase family reserves and to bring up the amount to historical highs. The central bank said improved family income, a generally positive outlook on the economy, inflation and foreign exchange rates encouraged saving behavior during the first three months of 2015. …

  • AXA Philippines growing alongside its parent firm

    Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp. is growing side by side with its parent firm, global insurance firm AXA, after posting significant growth in its total premium income amid an increasing market share in the country. A statement showed that in the Philippines, multi-billion firm AXA Group saw P18.35 billion in total premium income. The local entity of AXA, AXA Philippines is a joint venture between AXA Group and the Metrobank Group. In 2014, it saw an increase in market share to 11.6 …

  • End to traffic jam in sight? Japan to lend P4B to PHL for road projects

    The Japanese government will be providing some P4 billion to the Philippines for road projects aimed at decongesting monstrous jams in Metro Manila.Noriaki Niwa, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said the loan will cover major interchanges to address traffic congestion in Metro Manila, including flyovers, and road links.Among them are the interchanges on EDSA-Roosevelt/Congressional, EDSA-West/North, and C-5-Green Meadows and North/Mindanao Avenue. ... …

  • US won’t provide flexibility for countries interested in TPP

    Washington D.C.—The US government will not provide any flexibility for potential member countries, like the Philippines, in their bid to become part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a senior official said. Economic and Business Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary William E. Craft, Jr., said all restrictions stated under the TPP trade deal will be maintained and have to be met by the current and future member countries. Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options