Vice mayor: No sense in war over Scarborough

Subscribe Now April 30, 2012 at 08:59am

Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte sees no sense in waging war against China over the contested Panatag or Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. In his television program Sunday, Duterte said whether the Philippines is an ally of the United States, warfare should never be a solution to resolve the issue since any war waged will have to be fought by the Philippine forces.

"Dili man pud ko kaingon nga dili ta mulaban (I could not also say that we will not fight against them). But will America fight with us until the very end of the battle? We have the edge in terms of the US-RP pact, but is it automatic? Look, I'm not in favor on China, ang ako diri is that, dili solution ang gyera kay tanan maapektuhan (war is never a solution as it will affect everyone)," Duterte said.

He said the Balikatan exercises in the country could even be fanning China's aggression as the giant country could easily think that the exercises are intended to prepare against them.

The 11-day Balikatan exercises ended last Friday, April 27. Both the Philippines and the United States claimed it was a success.

"This exercise was an amazing success," said US exercise director Lieutenant General Duane Thiessen during the closing ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City Friday.

The bilateral exercises aimed to improve the interoperability of both forces in addressing security threats and effects of calamites. The field training exercises include an amphibious raid and gas and oil platform and defense in the West Philippine Sea.

But Duterte said the Balikatan is also the reason behind the joint military exercises China is holding with Russia.

"Sama sa giingon nako, ayaw mo anang Balikatan kay manghagad lang mo sa Chinese. Delikado na sa equation sa geo-political situation, armado ng duwa-duwa nila (as I have always been saying, we shouldn't welcome Balikatan because you can only always look up at China. This is a delicate geo-political situation and these giant countries are playing with arms)," he said.

The vice mayor added that because the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has sought the intercession of the international court to settle the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea, China should expect that this will be tackled by the international court.

"Don't be angry China if this (Scarborough) will be brought to international court kay didto ta ninyo mangayo ug kasulbaran (because that's where we will try to seek a solution)," Duterte said.

Tension flared anew between China and Philippines, after Chinese fishermen were accused of intruding and illegally fishing in the Scarborough Shoal, located some 140 nautical miles off Zambales province, last April 10.

China sent two vessels to prevent the Philippine authorities from arresting the poachers, but this led to the standoff as China is still asserting claim on the shoal.

On Sunday, the Philippine government said a Chinese ship has made dangerous maneuvers close to two Philippine coast guard vessels in the disputed shoal but that there was no collision.

DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said the Philippine vessels were not provoked by the "bullying" of the Chinese ship Saturday at the Scarborough Shoal.

Hernandez said the Chinese ship made two threatening passes near the Filipino vessels at about 20 knots, getting as close as 200 yards (183 meters) to one of the vessels before veering away and generating waves that lashed the two ships.

He said the Philippine government would protest the Chinese ship's act.

In a diplomatic note sent Thursday, the Philippines called on the China to respect its sovereign rights on the shoal, and to join with the country in bringing the territorial problem for resolution through international arbitration.

Source: sunstar.com.ph



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