Philippines maintains adherence to One-China principle: Malacañang

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2022 03:59 PM | Updated as of Aug 04 2022 05:10 PM

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian and Presidential aspirant and former senator Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. Chinese embassy handout photo/file
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian and Presidential aspirant and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Chinese embassy handout photo/file

MANILA — The Philippines' adherence to the One-China policy has not changed, Malacañang said Thursday, amid tensions in Taiwan following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that angered Beijing. 

"We have not changed our policy," Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles told ABS-CBN News when asked about the matter a day after she offered no reaction to the comment of Chinese Amb. Huang Xilian urging the Philippines to "abide by the One-China principle."

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) echoed the Palace' position, which was made known as well at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Cambodia, according to a statement of the grouping's foreign ministers issued Wednesday.

"We reiterate ASEAN Member States’ support for their respective One-China Policy," read a portion of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' statement that also expressed concern over the "recent development in the area adjacent" with the region.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

"The Philippines adheres to the One-China policy," the DFA said in its statement on Thursday afternoon.

A reaffirmation of the policy was also announced by Sen. Imee Marcos, sister of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. who heads the chamber's foreign relations committee.

“The Philippines remains steadfast in upholding the One China Policy, and we trust the People’s Republic recognizes our commitment to peace and prosperity in the region,” she said. 

Under the One-China principle, Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory despite the island asserting it is a self-governing entity.

Manila's recognition of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China and that Taiwan is an integral part of the Chinese territory were spelled out in a 1975 joint communique that established the two countries' diplomatic relations.

But the Philippines maintains an unofficial link with Taiwan through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO).

Countries that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan include Palau, the Marshall Islands, Haiti, Guatemala, and Paraguay, among others, as well as the Holy See.

Pelosi's overnight visit to Taiwan on Tuesday enraged China, which called it provocative.

China has responded to the trip by warning the US ambassador in Beijing of "extremely serious consequences" and announcing military drills in seas around Taiwan — some of the world's busiest waterways. 

The administration of President Joe Biden said though in the run-up to the visit that US policy towards Taiwan remained unchanged. This means support for its government while diplomatically recognizing Beijing over Taipei, and opposing a formal independence declaration by Taiwan or a forceful takeover by China.

When asked for comment on the development, Cruz-Angeles said Wednesday that the government takes "time to study" matters of international relations and does not react immediately.

"Loose words might affect relationships and very difficult to rebuild," she said. "We don't make knee-jerk reactions because it would adversely affect international relations."

But the DFA and the military are monitoring the situation, she added.

The DFA earlier called on China and the US to ensure continuing communication to avoid any miscalculation and further escalation of tensions.

"The Philippines is concerned with the rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait, just north of the Philippines... (It) urges restraint by all parties concerned," the DFA said in its latest statement.

"Diplomacy and dialogue must prevail."

A security analyst said Thursday that the Philippines must be prepared for China's possible "forcible retake of Taiwan," which is among the worst case scenarios, in light of its proximity and the presence of Filipino migrant workers there.

The ASEAN foreign ministers raised concerns on the rising tensions in the region, as it could potentially "destabilize" and could lead to confrontation and "miscalculation" among major powers. 

They underscored the importance of shared peace and prosperity through multilateralism and partnership, as well as "peaceful-coexistence and healthy competition" to attain security and stability in the region. 

"We should act together and ASEAN stands ready to play a constructive role in facilitating peaceful dialogue between all parties including through utilizing ASEAN-led mechanisms to deescalate tension, to safeguard peace, security and development in our region," the foreign ministers said.

— With a report from Vivienne Gulla of ABS-CBN News, and Agence France-Presse

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