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Why are threats used indeed?

Manila Standard

The ball is now on China’s turf.

This, after Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. challenged China to put its sovereignty claim to arbitration after it had warned – again – the Philippines to bear all ‘’potential consequences’’ amid its actions in the South China Sea.

As Teodoro said, and we rally behind his statement, “If they really want … if they are not afraid to tell the world of their claim, why not go into international arbitration so it will be clear to everyone what right does one have over the matter? Why are they hesitant to do so?”

Teodoro maintained it is Beijing that is continuously intruding into the Philippines’ territorial waters.

Teodoro was clear, “How are we challenging them? It is China that is intruding into our territory, what’s the bottomline that they are talking about?

“No country in the world believes in their narrative. This is just their way of threatening the Philippines.”

We agree with Teodoro’s reading of China’s claims that other countries, like the United States, have influenced the Philippines as regards territorial dispute were a major insult to Filipinos since our territories are already being grabbed and the Philippines is just following what other countries say.

Teodoro is correct in declaring the Philippines can only be rightfully accused of doing provocative actions if it is doing these humanitarian and supply missions within the exclusive economic zones of other nations.

Adding muscle to Teodoro’s statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs also summoned officials of the Chinese Embassy to express the Philippines’ “strong protest” over the “aggressive actions” by the Chinese Coast Guard and its maritime militia against the rotation and resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal last weekend.

China’s continued interference with the Philippines’ routine and lawful activities in the latter’s own exclusive economic zone is indeed “unacceptable.”

Blatantly, China’s aggressive actions call into question its sincerity in lowering the tensions and promoting peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Beijing has also been instructed to lodge the same démarche (formal diplomatic representation) with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“In these démarches, the Philippines stressed, among others, that China has no right to be in Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation that lies within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and as affirmed by the 2016 Arbitral Award,” it said.

As the DFA said China’s aggressive actions contradict and put to waste ASEAN-China efforts to promote practical activities to foster peace and cooperation in the region even as the Philippines continues to engage China in dialogue and diplomacy at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

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