Need for peaceful solution to WPS issue | Inquirer Opinion

Need for peaceful solution to WPS issue

/ 05:01 AM October 19, 2023

A recent incident in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) involving a Chinese Navy vessel and the Philippine Navy’s BRP Benguet has reignited tensions in the region. The Chinese Navy’s dangerous maneuvers, as reported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, not only endangered the safety of sailors but also challenged the international order.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy Ship 621 (PLAN 621) shadowed the BRP Benguet at an uncomfortably close distance, violating maritime collision regulations. What’s alarming is PLAN 621’s use of the contested “10-dash line” narrative, indicating a broader challenge to international norms.

Western Command chief Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos rightly emphasized the dangers posed by such maneuvers, which risk maritime safety and regional stability. AFP chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. called on China to cease these provocative actions and engage in peaceful diplomatic channels for dispute resolution.

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The commitment of the AFP to personnel safety and adherence to international norms is commendable. It underscores the importance of diplomacy over confrontation in resolving territorial disputes.

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In the WPS, where multiple territorial claims have created tensions, all parties must show restraint and respect international rules. China should heed calls to act professionally and de-escalate tensions, prioritizing regional stability and safety. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the need for peaceful and cooperative solutions to longstanding issues.

Arnulfo Jacinto, [email protected]

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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, Maritime Dispute, PH-China relations, West Philippine Sea

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