MANILA - Malacañang shrugs off a US general's comment that the Philippines and Japan should tone down their rhetoric against China.
US general Herbert Carlisle has called for a de-escalation of tensions after the heads of state of the Philippines and Japan compared China's assertiveness in the region to events in pre-war Europe.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said Carlisle is a military commander whose view differs from that of heads of state.
"General Carlisle is a military commander and his view of the world is different from the view of the world of heads of state like President Aquino and Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe. He can say what he likes but the President has the national interest in mind. He needs to say what he needs to say at the right time," he said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.
He also said President Aquino was simply stating the Philippines' position, which calls for international solidarity on the issue of territorial disputes. It is for this reason, he said, why the Philippines elevated the issue of its territorial row with China before the UN arbitral tribunal.
"The essence of what the President's statement is saying is it's time for states that belong to the United Nations, states that believe in the law of the sea, to do by deeds what they say in words. If they say they are for the international rule of law, then let them manifest it in deed and not in words," he said.
"Hindi na dinadaan sa mapa mapa o sa drawing drawing, sa totohanang pagtutoos sa maritime entitlement," he added.
Coloma said Aquino's words should also be placed in the proper context. He said the President had already told then President Hu JIntao that the sea dispute does not define the Philippines' relationship with China.
"Far be it from us to initiate conflict for conflict's sake," he said.
Shahani backs PNoy
In the same program, former senator Leticia Ramos Shahani also supported the strong statements made by President Aquino in the territorial dispute with China.
Shahani said Aquino is doing the right thing by standing his ground.
She also said Aquino's words show that the Philippines will not bow down to China's threats and will continue to assert the country's sovereignty on the disputed territories.
"I think the President has been right in making this strong pronouncement."
"Maybe as a professional diplomat, maybe we should have several styles of speaking and we only have one style of speaking. We are so bureaucratic. We are so polite, so subservient sometimes with the Chinese when they are really eating up our territories. From time to time we should bite like the President does . Ten we begin the diplomatic, the nice, graceful, gentle way of speaking," she added.
Beijing claims the South China Sea almost in its entirety, even areas a long way from its shoreline including portions claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. With AFP