Malacañang on Saturday dismissed China’s claim that the Philippines is “exaggerating” the threat it supposedly poses in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“The Philippines makes it a point to be very objective and to be very accurate when it comes to the facts that we present, that our positions are based on . . . It is not to our interest to exaggerate any incident or to make any incident bigger than it actually is because, as far as we were concerned, we only proceed upon the facts,” deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said over state-run dzRB radio.
“How it is perceived by other people outside is something that is not in government’s control,” she added.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted saying on Friday that “someone has been exaggerating or even playing up the so-called tension in the South China Sea.”
China’s reclamation work in the South China Sea has become the latest source of tension with some of its smaller neighbors, several of whom have competing territorial claims in the waters.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) said after a summit last month in Kuala Lumpur that reclamation work had “eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea.”
In his earlier speech to Asean heads on state , President Benigno Aquino 3rd said the “massive reclamations” by China posed a threat to the security and stability of the region.
China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.