China’s expansionist policy is what is causing the escalating tension in the West Philippine Sea and not the engagement of the Philippines with other countries that include the United States, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said.
“In terms of the Philippines, I respectfully disagree. It is the expansionist policy of China that is actually escalating the tensions only between us but with Vietnam and other actors and their 10-dash line,” said Teodoro in response to the statement of Sen. Robin Padilla.
In an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel, Teodoro said China’s expansionist policy is also affecting Brunei, India and Nepal.
The Philippine government has been protesting the harassment of local vessels in the West Philippine Sea, the recent incident is the water cannon incident on ship on a resupply mission for soldiers stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre at the Ayungin Shoal.
For Teodoro, the real issue on the West Philippine Sea is that China is not recognizing the international law, including the Philippines; exclusive economic zone.
“What is the real issue here the real issue is harassment activities by China when we are asserting our rights over the Philippine-registered vessel BRP Sierra Madre and other activities because they do not recognize our 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, they do not recognize our other claims,” said Teodoro.
In asserting the Philippines rights and in ensuring that international law is observed in the South China Sea, Teodoro emphasized the need for coalition with other countries such as the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia.
“The first priority is there resolve to stick to our rights under international law. Secondly, we also need to let China realize that we are willing to engage them so long as there is a framework for proper engagement and that is international law and not keep on talking and talking without getting anywhere while they continue to expand their influence in the south china sea and perhaps beyond,” said Teodoro.