MANILA - A Chinese newspaper has tagged the Philippines as a "paranoid junior ally" of the United States as it warned that it would be against Washington's interests if the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) row gets out of hand.
In an editorial published on May 16, China Daily said the US should not create tensions by supporting what it described as the Philippines’ “reckless stunts.”
“Instead of spoiling its increasingly paranoid junior ally and muddying the waters, Washington should keep Manila within bounds and try not to stir up tensions by backing its reckless stunts,” the editorial read.
“After all, it won’t serve Washington’s interests if the dispute in the South China Sea spins out of control.”
The Chinese newspaper said the US should just allow countries involved in the territorial disputes to settle their issues through bilateral negotiations.
“The US, which is strengthening its military alliance with Manila, and has a huge stake in the region’s stability, should comply with its promise to leave the countries concerned to settle their differences through bilateral talks,” it said.
The US has repeatedly said that it won’t side with any party involved in the sea row but is supportive of moves to resolve the issue through international arbitration.
China Daily published the editorial after Philippine authorities filed cases against nine of 11 Chinese fishermen who were caught poaching turtles in Hasa-Hasa (Half Moon) Shoal, an area close to mainland Palawan on May 6.
While the area is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, China demanded the release of the Chinese poachers, saying it has “indisputable sovereignty” over the shoal, which it calls Ban Yue Reef.
The Philippines has rejected China’s demand and maintained that it was just enforcing its maritime laws.
China Daily said the detention of the Chinese poachers was “a reckless move that further undermined peace in the region.”
“Any actions taken by the Philippines against the Chinese fishermen are illegal and invalid and can be regarded as direct infringements on China’s sovereignty,” the paper said.
The paper noted that the arrest of the Chinese poachers happened not long after US President Barack Obama visited Manila, during which Washington reaffirmed its “ironclad” commitment to defend its Southeast Asian ally.
“While reiterating calls for peaceful settlement of the disputes and joint development of resources, China has also made it clear that it is confident and capable of countering challenges to its territorial and sovereign integrity,” the editorial read.
“All parties should be reminded that ignorance of China’s resolve to defend its sovereign land will induce consequences too severe for certain countries to bear.”