China’s words do not match actions in West Philippine Sea - Lorenzana

China’s words do not match actions in West Philippine Sea - Lorenzana

Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in an interview with media that China’s words do not match their actions in the West Philippine Sea.

“They are saying that they will not… they want peace in South China Sea blah, blah, blah. But it does not match what they are doing on the ground,” Lorenzana told reporters at the 2019 Disaster Risk Resilience Summit in Quezon City.

Lorenzana’s statement was referring to the speech made by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao during the celebration of the 92nd founding anniversary of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Makati city, where he said China was committed to adhere to the policy of “peaceful settlement” in addressing maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
(photo credit to owner)

“I know you are all concerned about the situation in the South China Sea. I would like to say a few words. The South China Sea issue is not something we have today. It’s being part of the history. But over the four or five decades in the past, China is firm with adhering to the policy of peaceful settlement and this policy will remain and will continue,” Zhao was quoted as saying in the event.
“Despite the differences we have, we are ready to discuss with claimants over the differences we have. We always believe by law is much better than confrontation,” he added.
The Defense Secretary said, unless the Chinese government matches their words and their actions, Zhao’s statements would remain as “optics” to boost the image of China among the Filipinos.

“I have heard that version of those speech many times already. I heard that from the mouth of [Chinese President] Xi Jinping when we met him with the President, first time we met in 2016. I heard it from the mouth of other ministers, and then again last Shangrila dialogue, narinig ko na naman ‘yan sa minister of defense nila (I also heard it from their minister of defense), so nothing new from what they are saying,” he stated.
Sinasabi nila na we do not bully people around, they follow international law, but sabi ko (I told them) you are not. What you are telling is not what you are doing on the ground so siguro (maybe) until such time that their action is matched by the words, then doubtful yung mga sinasabi nila (what they’re saying is doubtful),” he added.
“Parang optics lang ‘yan or narrative lang siguro ‘yan para it’s good to be heard. Just to keep us siguro calm or palubag loob sa atin,” he noted.

Tension escalated when a Filipino fishing boat sunked within the Recto bank after it was rammed by a Chinese vessel.
Lorenzana, considering all the other incidence being done by the Chinese harassing Filipino fishermen in the disputed waters could not help but say that China has been a “bully” to the Philippines.”
“The way that they took over Scarborough Shoal, to me that is, that was bullying,” the defense chief  said.

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Report from Manila Bulletin

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