Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 22) — Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose “Babe” Manuel Romualdez said it’s time for the Philippines to “push back” and not allow China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea.
Romualdez made the remark when asked about the challenges the Philippines faces in the conduct of resupply missions at Ayungin Shoal.
“We have to push back. We must make it clear that we will not allow this type of behavior. Sa atin iyon [It’s ours]. It’s time to show that we can’t be pushed around and we are on the right side,” Romualdez said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Monday.
The Philippine envoy also clarified that talks with Beijing should continue and countries should always persevere in resolving conflicts peacefully.
Romualdez expressed optimism on the South China Sea Code of Conduct.
The new round of negotiations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China is being held in Manila from Tuesday to Thursday.
“It is one channel to be able to achieve some sort of peace in the area. Nobody really wants a major conflict because the alternative is disaster for the entire world,” the envoy said.
“No one wants to lose a country but more importantly we don’t want to lose the world. We know that if a major conflict happens now or in the future it’s going to be the end of the world,” he added.
Envoy refutes US interference in PH’s decision in South China Sea
Romualdez also denied claims the United States is driving conflict in the region and interfering on the Philippines’ decisions on West Philippine Sea matters.
“That is absolutely not true. The involvement of the US with the Philippines has been around for a long time,” he said.
“Other countries are building in our territory, ‘yung mga reefs ginagawa nilang island, ngayon military base. Tama ba ‘yan? Sino ba talaga gumagawa ng sitwasyon na hindi maganda?” the envoy asked.
[Translation: Other countries are building in our territory. They turn our reefs into islands and then later on military bases. Now, who is the one doing illegal actions?]
China: U.S. is biggest threat to regional security
In a recent briefing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry slammed the United States anew for allegedly stirring conflict in the region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin claimed the US has gone to great lengths to interfere in the South China Sea issue.
“The US has become the biggest threat and challenge to regional peace and stability. China will continue to firmly defend its sovereignty and security interests and work with ASEAN countries,” Wang said.
Source: CNN Philippines