Philippine president sees no war with China

Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is not about to be flustered by the fiery language of Chinese officials.

The president said Sunday he did not think China would go to war with the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal.

Aquino was asked by reporters during a visit here to comment on a Chinese general's call for China to take decisive actions against the Philippines to resolve the territorial dispute in the area which Filipino officials alternatively call Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.

He replied that there were more "severe" headlines in the official Chinese newspaper People's Daily, pointing to one that said, "Prepare to hear the sounds of canons." He said that the Chinese were fond of speaking in "metaphors".

"We don't think that at this point in time that they will engage in any military activities," the president said. He said that since the impasse began three weeks ago, he had taken actions "geared toward deescalating the situation."

"It's clear it is to nobody's benefit, and there are a lot of repercussions, if any military force happens to be employed here. So we think that is more a statement that lacks substance. It's not indicative of the real intentions," he said.

He added that the general "did not command policy in the People's Republic."

Gathering evidence

The president said the government had been documenting developments at Scarborough Shoal as possible evidence against China before an appropriate international body.

He also said that the Department of Justice was consulting with various departments "to really define the basis of all the rules and regulations and which local and international laws that we subscribe to are currently in operation."

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario left on Saturday for Washington for talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday. Joining the discussions that will include the Scarborough impasse will be Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and his US counterpart, Leon Panatta.

He told reporters that the talks would center on increasing "our capacity for territorial defence and maritime security" under the Mutual Defence Treaty. He said this year US defence assistance would reach $144.66 million.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said in an interview over dzBB that China might be inadvertently "invading" the Philippines with its presence in Scarborough Shoal.

Santiago, an expert in international law who has been elected to the International Criminal Court, advocated a "binding regional code of conduct" among claimant-nations to force China to talk peace.

Customary law

She said the diplomatic protest lodged by Manila against Beijing since the April 10 standoff "will be useful when we meet before an international court that ... It will be evidentiary proof, among many other pieces of evidence, that we're being consistent and have been practicing international public customary law."

"The Senate should pass a resolution proclaiming our territorial sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal and explaining what is the basis, and referring it to the Department of Foreign Affairs for referral to China. That's how it will play out," Santiago said.

Show courage

"We're repeating this over and over again because that is one of the requirements of the international customary law, repetition, so we must repeatedly assert that it is ours," she said.

Philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis has called on the government to "show courage" by hitting back at China for "bullying" small countries like the Philippines and violating the country's territorial sovereignty.

"China is a bully ... She must be hit with moves like trade tariff. Let the Philippine Congress show its courage by passing a law that would impose tariff on all Chinese goods," Lewis told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Saturday.

"If China files a case against us before the World Trade Organisation for violation of the free trade agreement, then we could pursue our plan to bring the Scarborough Shoal case to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (based in Hamburg, Germany)," said Lewis, chair of the New York-based US Pinoys for Good Governance. With reports from Michael Lim Ubac and Jerry E. Esplanada

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Loading...

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.

  • First China air force drills in 'far offshore' Pacific
    First China air force drills in 'far offshore' Pacific

    China's air force has carried out its first ever military drill over the western Pacific Ocean, state media said, highlighting Beijing's growing military reach. Several aircraft from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday flew over the ocean via the Bashi Channel, which runs between Taiwan and the Philippines, the official Xinhua news agency said. "This is the first time that the PLA Air Force conducted such drills in an airspace far offshore from Chinese coastlines," Xinhua cited …

  • Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow
    Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow

    The Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will have shorter hours tomorrow for the replacement of defective railroad tracks during the Holy Week. …

  • Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers
    Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers

    President Aquino has signed a joint congressional resolution raising the daily subsistence allowance for both members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino signed last March 27 the merged Joint Resolution 2 of the Senate and Joint Resolution 26 of the House of Representatives. Speaking to reporters, Lacierda yesterday said the daily allowances of police officers and soldiers were raised from P90 …

  • Oil firms raise gas prices today
    Oil firms raise gas prices today

    This year’s Holy Week break will be accompanied by an increase in local pump prices after oil companies announced yesterday a P1.10 per liter hike for gasoline and P0.60 per liter for diesel effective today. “Phoenix Petroleum Philippines will increase the prices of gasoline by P1.10 per liter and diesel by P0.60 per liter effective 6 a.m. of March 31, 2015 to reflect the movements in the prices of refined petroleum products in the international market,” said Phoenix Petroleum, an independent …

  • DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah
    DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah

    The Philippines has never offered to drop its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for Manila’s arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea issue, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. “In the context of our friendly bilateral relations, our two countries have been for years exchanging ways on how to address the issue of the extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in explaining the DFA’s …

  • Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury
    Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury

    The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has remitted P5 billion in cash dividends to the National Treasury, fully settling all its arrears incurred in the last several years. Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said with this year’s remittance, the state-owned gaming firm has fully settled all remaining arrears in cash dividends that were incurred by the previous administration since 2005. Pagcor’s cash dividends to the National Treasury under its …

  • Maysak moves closer to Phl
    Maysak moves closer to Phl

    The typhoon with international name Maysak slightly accelerated as it moved closer to the Philippines yesterday, threatening to dump rains over eastern Luzon this weekend, the state weather bureau said. Rene Paciente, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Maysak was spotted at 2,175 kilometers east of Mindanao as of 1 p.m. yesterday. Paciente said based on their latest forecast, Maysak is likely to affect …

  • Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany
    Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany

    The Philippines is getting 41 million euros or around P2 billion from the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of Germany that will fund 10 bilateral projects to address the impact of climate change. Climate Change Commission (CCC) vice chairman Lucille Sering yesterday met with Norbert Gorissen – head of the International Climate Finance of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety – to discuss the projects, some of which will be …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options