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Manila rashly betting on foreign support: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-09-26 21:13

Unsurprisingly, Western media, due to their one-sidedness and habitual bias against China, have reported on the recent altercation between China and the Philippines in favor of the latter. Totally disregarding the fact that China has sovereignty over Huangyan Island and its adjacent waters.

The fact of the matter is, a vessel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Philippines intruded into the waters adjacent to the island and attempted to enter the island's lagoon without China's permission. That this was done with the intent of creating a scene is evidenced by the Philippine government vessels that also came to the waters near the island carrying journalists from Western countries armed with cameras and other equipment for on-site filming .

In response to Manila's disingenuous accusation on Sunday that China's Coast Guard had installed a "floating barrier" to prevent Filipinos from entering and fishing in the area, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin clarified on Monday that the Chinese Coast Guard was "professional and restrained" in its maneuvers to stop and warn off the Philippine government ship intruding into Chinese waters.

The latest incident is a clear proof that with the encouragement and support it has received from Washington, Manila feels emboldened to once again make waves in the South China Sea. What transpired last week was orchestrated by the Philippines in a bid to play up the territorial dispute again, and tarnish China's image with distorted Western media reports portraying it as a bully.

It seems Manila has yet to learn a lesson from 2012 when China and the Philippines had a standoff over the island for weeks. That did not give the Philippines the upper hand as China has actual control of the island. Instead it served to plunge ties between the two sides into freezing waters.

No matter how many tricks Manila and its foreign backers play, they will not shake China's resolve to defend its territorial waters. But China should be fully prepared for further escalation in the waters as Manila, with the backing of foreign forces from outside the region, is becoming increasingly provocative and blatant.

Manila should know further escalation of tensions over Huangyan Island will be detrimental to peace and stability in the South China Sea. It should stop seeking selfish gains and look at the larger picture of the region, as efforts are being made by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to finalize a code of conduct for the South China Sea.

Manila should also be mindful of the fact that, with or without the backing of foreign forces, Beijing will firmly respond to any and all provocations.

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