Agreeing and confirming that China is a ‘co-owner of the WPS puts Philippine claims and interest in a very disadvantageous position while also emboldens China more and increase its willingness to continue its territorial grabbing from other nations including the Philippines.
Now it is really becoming apparent why other countries may really see the Philippines as a regional threat, because the Philippines is becoming a gateway to Chinese occupation of the entire South China Sea.
Manila, Philippines — Following his pivot to China, President Duterte yesterday bragged that Beijing has recognized that it is a “co-owner” with the Philippines with regard to disputed areas in the South China Sea.
Duterte said China has offered the Philippines joint exploration of the South China Sea after he opted to shift foreign policy in favor of Beijing – a 180-degree turn from the stance of the previous Aquino administration.
“I will not go into a battle which I cannot win and the consequence would be a massacre of my soldiers. Not now,” Duterte said during the inauguration of new housing units in Marawi City yesterday.
Recalling his conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Duterte said more substantial things are accomplished when communication lines are open.
He stressed that no positive development could be reached by the two countries if he kept spewing expletives at the Chinese leaders.
Now the Chinese are looking into joint exploration in disputed areas in the South China Sea – which the President sees as a recognition of “co-ownership.”
Duterte said that Xi knew beforehand that his government would have to recognize the Philippines’ rights over the disputed areas to make it work.
In the same event, Duterte also addressed the concerns over Chinese incursion at the Philippine Rise, previously known as Benham Rise.
Unlike in the South China Sea, Duterte maintained that only the Philippines has sovereign rights over the Philippine Rise. He said he is ready to fight it out with any country claiming it.
“That is within our economic zone and territory,” he added.
Duterte said nobody could dispute that the Philippine Rise is within the country’s continental shelf.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the government should provide “Filipinized” names to the underwater features of the Philippine Rise and get them recognized by the appropriate international organization.
Just like China has named five of the underwater features of the Philippine Rise, Pimentel said this should also be explored by the Philippine government.
“So labanan na lang yan (this will be a battle) on who has the right to give the name and I’m sure there’s a body which will decide, so let’s start our public relations campaign with that body,” Pimentel said.
“We should give the underwater features within the Philippine area of responsibility or Philippine exclusive economic zone some Filipino or Filipinized names,” he added.
China has named four undersea mountains and a hill at the Philippine Rise through the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).
Chinese naval ships have reportedly been conducting surveys at the area since 2004.
It was discovered that China conducted hydrographic surveys in the Philippine Rise without the required consent of the Philippine government.
Pimentel said this move by China should serve as a lesson to the Philippines that it should strengthen its scientific capabilities.
“But just like what I said before, we shouldn’t be too alarmist because giving a name is not really claiming it,” he said.
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV welcomed the efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to contest the move of China to name the underwater features as a step towards safeguarding Philippine territory.
He said the DFA should also pursue the nullification of the Chinese names in the Philippine Rise.
“China has violated our sovereign rights in discovering these features and must not be given the honor of naming them,” Aquino said.
Aquino said the government should invest in its capacity to conduct its own scientific research in the Philippine Rise.
“We should not be too dependent on foreign partnerships. Let us fund the projects that will benefit the future of our country. Let’s make the extra effort to support our scientists and ensure that we can maximize the Philippine Rise and protect it from any threat,” he said.