WHY display weaponry when you are talking about peace?
The Department of National Defense (DND) on Sunday slammed China’s doublespeak and again called on Beijing to stop all island reclamation work on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“The department welcomes the Chinese leadership’s recent pronouncement that they are committed to peace, but why the display of offensive weaponry?” Defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez asked.
The defense official pointed out that the Chinese leadership should go beyond “deceitful rhetoric claiming peaceful efforts before all their aggression takes a greater and irreparable toll on the region and beyond.”
“We thus call on China’s government to show its sincerity by, at the least, stopping all ongoing construction and militarization activities and to refrain from restricting freedom of flight and navigation in the West Philippine Sea,” Galvez said.
He noted that several nations have called for China to stop activities that run counter to international law and agreements.
“We have heard peace-loving Chinese people living in many communities all over the world echoing this sentiment. We reiterate our country’s incessant call for a rules-based and peaceful approach to this matter which is shared not only by our neighbors in the region but by the rest of the international community,” Galvez said.
According to him, the activities of the Chinese in the disputed waterways are causing a major disruption in the security of the Southeast Asian region.
“Their activities, which need to be stopped immediately, have [caused]and are causing destruction of marine ecosystems and depleting fish stock/global commons, restricting navigation and flight and placing global trade in a worried state; these among other ill effects the Chinese leadership continues to disregard as already pointed out by several key leaders of other nations, international groups and the Chinese people themselves,” Galvez said.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea despite competing claims from the Philippines as well as Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The Philippines has been the most vocal in criticizing China’s efforts to enforce its claim by seizing islets and turning isolated outcroppings into artificial islands that can host military facilities.
It filed a case with an international tribunal challenging China’s maritime claim.