China may grab Panatag shoal next – ambassador

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The Philippines “does not have the capability” to stop China from reclaiming Scarborough (Panatag) shoal, a senior Filipino diplomat admitted on Tuesday.

In a roundtable interview with foreign reporters in Manila, Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia Jr. expressed hope that the international community will be able to persuade China to stop its unilateral moves in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) where Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Citing a report from US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, Cuisia said a Chinese survey ship was spotted on the shoal, which the Philippines also calls Bajo de Masinloc, a few weeks ago in what could be a prelude to Beijing’s attempt to turn the shoal into another artificial island.

China has already turned seven reefs into new islets as it insists its historical claim over nearly the entire West Philippine Sea.


Cuisia said China’s island-making spree “will be very provocative” and “will further escalate the tensions and the conflict.”

The US and China are set to have a strategic bilateral meeting in early June and this could be an opportunity for Washington to convince China not to proceed with the reclamation activities, the envoy added.

Cuisia said he was part of the talks when the US State department brokered a deal for the Philippines and China to simultaneously withdraw from Scarborough shoal to deescalate the tension in 2012 when Philippine and Chinese vessels had a face-off.

“I think we were successful in doing that but the problem is precisely the Chinese vessel did not leave that area anymore after that,” the ambassador noted.

“China breached that agreement and China was saying, ‘What agreement?’ as if they were not part of it,” he said. “We were shortchanged.”

China’s refusal to withdraw its ships prompted the Philippines to file a case before the The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in 2013 to affirm its right to areas within 200 nautical miles of its coastline, under the terms of a United Nations convention.

Cuisia said China has to honor the upcoming ruling of the tribunal if it does not want “to be pictured as a rogue nation.”

“China values its reputation in the international community. They are a rising power and of course they would like to enjoy the respect of the international community,” he added.

Cuisia also admitted that it would be “unrealistic” for China to sit down with the Philippines to settle the dispute diplomatically any time soon.

“Maybe it will take a number of years before we get to that point, but hopefully China will realize that it is to their interest to resolve the issue peacefully in a manner that is mutually satisfactory because it cannot be just one-sided,” he said.

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4 Comments

  1. Reynaldo De Guzman on

    Let’s wait for the results of the May 9th election. Maybe someone among the winners will be bold enough to resist the Chinese encroachment on their so called 9-line.. The only candidates eager to fight for our rights on our EEZ in the WPS are Doc Arturo Pacheco Reyes and Gen Elly. Pamatong. It appears their names are not included in the election ballots. Maybe both were disqualified by the COMELEC, (PH Commission on Election) and that’s not the way to know the real wishes of the general population’ This election would be like a plebiscite if one of these true and non-corrupted pro-American candidates will be included in the ballot.. We lost the American military bases in the PH because a plebiscite was not done during the Cory Aquino’s Administration.

  2. There has been little downside so far to Chinese artificial island construction and
    gradual miltarization of the EEZ of the Philippines. Missile batteries and fighter jets down there are only a short period away. China is simply waiting for an appropriate pretext like the Hague’s ruling against their land grab to insist Scarborough is theirs.
    The Philippines should tell the Chinese to vacate the Scarborough Shoal once the court rules and then proceed to behave as if the Chinese have left, whether they do or not. And the best way to do that is to announce that the Philippines will build a station and harbor at Scarborough Shoal and might be willing to negotiate some fishing privileges for Chinese fishermen if certain conditions are met (like the withdrawal of “coast guard” vessels sent by the CCP to a reef 500 miles away from mainland China. Cleary the Chinese want to militarize this reef just offshore from the Subic Bay naval base. They need to be sent home peacefully by Filipino and US and ASEAN ships once the Chinese fail to recognize the Hague’s decision that they are violating international law with their island hopping campaign.
    No other way is open to the Philippines short of capitulation because the Chinese will not leave this shoal unless forced off.

  3. ang laking tanga at walang mga bayag itong gobyerno ni moymoy, lalo na si cuisia, anong klaseng mga statement mo, parang sumuko ka na sa mga bEHO.. talagang pinabayaan mo na ang mga intsik… Incompetent na mga ambassador ni moy moy. Isulat ito sa Philippine history. Dapat lang talaga na WALANG IBOTO SA INYO NA LIBERAL PARTY NI MOY MOY…
    ZERO VOTE TO ALL LIBERAL PARTY…
    VOTE MDS AND BBM .. Ito lang ang may mga utak at matapang sa ganitong situwasyon. Pinabayaan na kasi ng nuong araw pa. After Edsa 1 crazy revolution ni corykong.. never never never again sa mga Aquino family sa gobyerno.. mga traydor ..

  4. Walang Bayag at Hindi Capability. Kung una pa lamang nagpakita agad ng tapang at pagmamahal sa atin bansa e palagay ko Hindi nakuha yan Panatag Shoal. Kaso wala pang putukan, atras agad sabay back channel ng bata Nya hayan China na Ang nasa PS. Hwag iboto yan bata Nya at mga LP! Lets Vote for Santiago and BBM!