MANILA — Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian has expressed alarm over the additional Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites in the country.
Earlier this month, the Philippines named 4 locations seen as additional EDCA sites, which are all located in Luzon.
Huang claimed the United States "intends to take advantage of the new EDCA sites to interfere in the situation across the Taiwan Strait to serve its geopolitical goals, and advance its anti-China agenda at the expense of peace and development of the Philippines and the region at large."
The ambassador was also not convinced that the new EDCA sites were to protect thousands of overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan.
"Some tried to find excuse for the new EDCA sites by citing the safety of the 150,000 OFWs in Taiwan, while China is the last country that wishes to see conflict over the Strait because people on both sides are Chinese. But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities," he added.
Huang told the Philippine government to reject Taiwan's independence, which he claimed threatened peace along Taiwan Strait.
Beijing considers Taiwan as part of its territory.
"Peace across the Taiwan Strait is under threat and faces severe challenges. The root cause of the tensions across the Taiwan Strait is the 'Taiwan independence' forces colluding with the US. The US has obdurately attempted to contain China by exploiting the Taiwan question and breaking its commitments of maintaining only unofficial relations with Taiwan," he said.
"It has been crossing the line and acting provocatively on issues such as US-Taiwan official exchanges, arms sales to and military dealings with Taiwan and creating chances for Taiwan to expand its so-called 'international space', and kept fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle."
Huang made the statements at the 8th Manila Forum in Pasig City organized by the Chinese Embassy and the Association for Philippines-China Understanding.
According to former National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos, who attended the forum, Beijing's fears are baseless.
"The 9 bases cannot be used. No equipment can be prepositioned there, no infrastructure can be built there without express approval so let’s remember that, so the fears and anxieties are unfounded," Carlos said.