Philippines told to keep US out of Spratlys

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Former Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Wang Yingfan warned that dragging the United States in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) would be unacceptable to China and Beijing "certainly would react" if that happened.

"We could forge good neighbourly relations and work out something that's beneficial and acceptable to both sides¿You are happy and we are happy. Maybe, you're half-happy and we're half-happy, but it's acceptable to both sides," Wang said in a media forum on Wednesday organised by the Chinese Embassy.

Wang, who served in Manila from 1988 to 1990, said there was nothing wrong with the Philippines acquiring used US warships for defence purposes and that "any nation must do something (to improve) their own national defence."

"It's understandable. No problem," he said. "I know your Navy is very much backward in equipment. If you buy warships from the United States, I would understand."

But Wang, who said he still advised his government on regional issues despite his retirement, asserted that allowing the United States to meddle in the six-nation Spratly Island dispute was another story.

More complicated

"If it really happens that the United States and your country would talk about the South China Sea and how you should work together, I think that would be something which cannot be accepted by the Chinese," he said.

"If (the Americans) involve themselves in the territorial dispute, there will be problems with China. If that happened, the Chinese government certainly would react," he added.

That is why it would be "wise for the nations concerned in this region, including the Philippines, not to introduce Americans into the disputed waters," Wang said.

Six claimants

"That would make the issue more complicated and more difficult to settle among ourselves," he said.

The Spratlys are a chain of up to 190 isles, reefs, coral outcrops and banks believed to be sitting atop large deposits of oil and natural gas.

A Chinese report quoted by US authorities estimates there are 225 billion barrels of oil in the area.

The isles and their waters are claimed wholly or in part by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

President Benigno Aquino III has said the gas deposits in the disputed territory are so enormous that they would dwarf the Malampaya oil and gas fields.

Wang Yingfan and another retired Chinese diplomat, Wang Chungui, who was ambassador to Manila from 2000 to 2004, are in the Philippines on a week-long goodwill visit as part of the two countries' friendly exchanges, the embassy said.

'Deng Xiaoping solution'

Wang Yingfan pushed for the so-called "Deng Xiaoping solution" to the dispute-setting aside the territorial quarrel in favour of joint exploration and development.

The late Deng, who led China from 1978 to 1992, steered the world's most populous state toward a market economy in the 1980s.

Wang Yingfan stressed "it is the time for cooperation, not confrontation, not fighting."

"I talked with some important people in your government that we should work hard to find ways that are acceptable to both sides, that we must work hard to prepare the ground so that we could share the resources together," he added.

"The response was very encouraging. They said they would consider this kind of thinking. So with patience, with goodwill and with hard work, we could find a way out that's agreeable and acceptable to both sides."

'Solution will come'

Instead of wasting time talking about the Spratlys dispute, Wang said it would be better if Filipinos "spend your energy on economic development."

He said "it would take some time before we could find a solution (to the dispute)" but he was "optimistic that that will come."

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has said a "rules-based" approach based on international law is the key to settling the dispute and that the Philippines expects nothing less from the other Spratlys claimants.

Following a recent meeting between the Philippines and China in Beijing, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the two sides had agreed to promote bilateral relations, such as on energy, science and technology, disaster mitigation, law enforcement and maritime cooperation.

The Chinese foreign ministry has said both countries have agreed not to let their quarrel over the Spratlys "affect the broader picture of friendship and cooperation" between them. With a report from Inquirer Research

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.

  • 15 wounded in 2 explosions in restive southern Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — At least 15 people have been wounded in two separate blasts that hit a police camp in a restive southern Philippine province where Muslim militants operate, police said Saturday. …

  • 15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp
    15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp

    Fifteen people including 10 police officers were wounded in an attack on a mosque at police camp on a remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, officials said on Saturday. Successive blasts targeted the mosque inside Camp Kasim on the island of Jolo early evening Friday -- an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion less than 10 minutes later that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said. "It seems the (first) explosion was set …

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options