Gov't urged: Assert PH sovereignty in territorial row with China


Posted at Jun 28 2019 12:24 PM

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MANILA - The Philippine government should assert its rights in the West Philippine Sea by first asking China to stand down, ACT Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said Friday.

Tinio said the president or his Cabinet has yet to tell China's leaders that Beijing does not have rights to fish in Manila's exclusive economic zone.

"That assertion has not even been made. That's what we expect in terms of practical solution to this issue, make the assertion in the first place and then move on from there," he said.

Tinio said asserting Philippine sovereign rights in the EEZ is the real solution to the sea row. This would also involve China standing down and respecting Philippine territory.

US military presence in the South China Sea, he said, would only make China more aggressive.

"Most certainly any US intervention in this issue will only make things worse. It will only make China the more aggressive in the South China Sea," he said.

Another practical solution is to build an alliance with other countries facing similar threat from China, he said.

"The ASEAN is a perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, that opportunity was missed. We could have made efforts to have a common stand but that is not being done," he said.

The lawmaker pointed out that there is nothing wrong in developing friendly relations with China as long as the Philippines is treated on an equal basis.

"That's inevitable. China is the biggest economy in this part of the world, so there's nothing wrong with that per se. But the president has to ensure that it's on an equal basis, meaning the Philippines will be treated as equal and would not exploited in that relationship, part of that will include asserting our rights and asking China to respect it," he said.