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Exploiting China's goodwill and tolerance leads to nowhere

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-05-21 09:48

Ren'ai Reef. [File photo/China Daily]

Some Philippine politicians have been actively provoking China in issues related to the South China Sea regardless of continuous restraint and goodwill from China.

In latest provocative moves, backed by some politicians, organized fishing vessels have attempted to trespass into the waters of Huangyan Dao. High-ranking officials such as the Philippine Senate president and the defense chief have also visited Zhongye Dao, which the Philippines illegally occupies.

These provocations disregard China's goodwill and restraint. They are driven by unreasonable ambitions and are surely not to serve the Philippines' own long-term interests.

Once again, Filipino fishermen, among the country's poorest groups, have been ruthlessly exploited to serve some politicians' agenda. As noted by Rod Kapunan, a columnist for Philippine newspaper Manila Standard, the latest provocation is "one of the most cynical displays of opportunistic exploitation of the Filipino poor by the U.S.-Filipino proxy clique for the propaganda purposes of the U.S."

ASEAN and China are working for shared benefits regarding resources in the South China Sea. If the Philippines continues to disrupt regional peace and stability, it will miss out on this opportunity.

China will continue to properly handle maritime issues with relevant parties through dialogue and consultation and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

At the same time, China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests must not be violated, and China's determination to safeguard its lawful rights remains unwavering.

At a regular press conference on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that China made a goodwill arrangement in 2016 for Filipino fishermen to fish with a small number of small fishing boats in the adjacent waters of Huangyan Dao, while China continues to oversee and monitor relevant activities of the Filipino fishermen in accordance with the law.

If the Philippines abuses China's goodwill and infringes upon China's territorial sovereignty and jurisdiction, China will defend its rights and take countermeasures in accordance with the law. Relevant responsibilities and consequences shall be borne solely by the Philippines.

The recent tension in the South China Sea is not possible without U.S. meddling. Washington has clearly stepped up its game of making Manila a pawn in its scheme to contain China.

As noted by Koh King Kee, president of the Center for New Inclusive Asia, the confrontational approach the Philippines takes in handling the South China Sea issue aligns with the U.S. strategy to contain China.

The collusion between the United States and the Philippines, which threatens regional peace and stability, remains unpopular in the region. A recent list compiled by the Philippines of countries worldwide that publicly support its claims in the South China Sea does not include a single ASEAN country.

"Intervention by countries outside the region, like the U.S., will only aggravate the situation in the South China Sea," said Veronika Saraswati, senior researcher at Indonesia's leading think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

By supporting the Philippines' provocative behaviors in the South China Sea, the United States and its allies are creating chaos, uncertainty and insecurity throughout the Asia-Pacific region, said Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh.

Those Philippine politicians who are fanning dispute and distrust must realize that China would not compromise on issues regarding its core interest. By colluding with the United States, this will backfire on the Philippines' own interests and harm regional peace and stability.

Rather than fostering a confrontational and provocative approach, the Philippines should prioritize diplomatic dialogue and regional cooperation to ensure lasting peace and mutual prosperity. Ignoring this path risks exacerbating disputes and eroding the trust necessary for regional harmony.

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