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Philippines asks Beijing to stop “harassing” them

Photo: Ted Aljibe Agence France-Presse Manila and Beijing have a long history of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, through which billions of dollars of goods pass each year.

France Media Agency in Melbourne

7:40 a.m.

  • Asia

The Philippines urges China to stop “harassing” them, Philippine Foreign Minister Enrique Manalo told AFP on Monday, assuring he is committed to a peaceful resolution of disputes in the Pacific Ocean. Southern China.

Mr Manalo was speaking on the sidelines of the 50th anniversary summit of relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia, following a series of incidents between Manila and Beijing in the disputed waters from the South China Sea.

The Philippine minister defended his government's policy aimed at making Chinese maneuvers in these disputed waters public, such as the recent passage of warships near the Scarborough Atoll.

“It’s just about trying to inform people about what’s happening,” the minister told AFP.

“If you stopped harassing us, and perhaps taking other actions, there would be no information to report,” added the head of Philippine diplomacy.

“We will never cede even one square centimeter of our territory and our maritime jurisdiction,” added Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, who spoke later Monday evening, on the sidelines of the summit of ASEAN in Melbourne.

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“Provocative actions”

Manila and Beijing have a long history of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, through which billions of dollars of goods pass each year.

Beijing claims almost all of this marine expanse, including waters and islands near the coasts of several neighboring countries, and has ignored an international tribunal's ruling in 2016 rejecting the baseless claim legal.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim several reefs and islets in this sea, some areas of which may contain rich oil reserves.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, reacted to Manalo's comments on Monday, saying that “China's position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear.”

“The cause of recent maritime problems is that the Philippines has frequently carried out provocative actions in the South China Sea that violate our rights,” she said.

Manila has attempted to rally other countries, particularly in the region, to its cause, with mixed results.

“The Philippines is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes through diplomatic or peaceful means,” Manalo said, while emphasizing that “this will not be to the detriment of our interest national.”

“We are reaching out to partners in countries who share our ideas and face similar issues and concerns,” he added.

The head of Philippine diplomacy also raised questions regarding the future of relations with the country's main partner in terms of security, the United States, where the November elections should pit the outgoing president, Joe Biden, against the Republican Donald Trump.

Washington formally committed by treaty to defend Manila in the event of a military conflict.

“The United States is a major ally, a treaty ally of the Philippines. So it's obvious that any difference or change in U.S. policy… would most likely have some effect” for Manila, Mr. Manalo said.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116