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‘China’s aggression does not diminish PH’s sovereign rights’

/ 05:14 AM May 25, 2018

China keeps on occupying more territories that it claims as its own despite protests from other claimant countries. It continues building manmade islands and turns them into missile bases, even as it causes massive destruction on the environment. Jamming devices in Fiery Cross Reef on Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea have also been detected; military planes were spotted on Mischief Reef. This is part of China’s strategy to project its supremacy and advance its economic agenda and military designs.

China wants to take control of the Spratlys and obviously is interested in the Philippine Rise because of their vast economic resources and strategic location. It desires to secure all methane hydrate for its own and make the West Philippine Sea an asylum for its nuclear-armed submarine. China’s government has already declared that the military installations it has built on the islands will be limited to required resistance necessities

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The Kagitingan Reef now occupied by China is also claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. China’s display of power signals its aggressive designs which the international community has condemned from the day the sea dispute erupted.

Nevertheless, such aggression does not diminish our sovereign rights which the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague categorically acknowledged in July 2016.

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The question is, are we allowing China to exploit our natural resources? Are we permitting it to militarize our territories? Our country should be extra concerned with this because such act poses a serious threat to our country as well as to other claimant nations. This particular issue should awaken the spirit of patriotism in every Filipino and unite the nation in asserting our sovereign right to our exclusive economic zone.

The hard part is that we cannot call for war or for a more hard line reaction. China is a global superpower with nuclear warheads and a missile arsenal that could hit the Philippines from the mainland. But if China wants to be respected as a global power, it should abide by the UN-backed arbitral court ruling that invalidated its expansive maritime claims.

We hope China would not threaten peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea nor disrupt other countries in the exercise of their sovereign rights.

ANN R. AQUINO

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TAGS: China, Kagitingan Reef, South China Sea, spratlys, territorial dispute, West Philippine Sea
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