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Cayetano allays concerns over S. China Sea island building by various nations

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by Roy Mabasa

If the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) gave the whole picture of what is happening in the disputed areas in the South China Sea, all claimant countries would be protesting against one another, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said over the weekend.

Cayetano said the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of CSIS, reported recently that China has built new military facilities on islands in the South China Sea, particularly on Fiery Cross (Kagitingan, to the Philippines), Mischief (Panganiban), and Subi (Zamora) Reefs in the West Philippine Sea, about 230 miles southwest of Palawan and therefore well within the Philippines’ 300-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

This latest CSIS report has prompted Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to call on the Philippine government to protest China’s moves.

Cayetano, however, said the CSIS report should be “seasoned” – taken with a grain of salt – to adjust for certain biases.

“CSIS is a very good organization – their transparency program,” he said, “but they are an American think tank, they are for American interests, not necessarily Filipino interest. Sometimes they go into Filipino interests; sometimes not.”

Cayetano said CSIS is not giving the entire picture of the current situation in the South China Sea. “If they show that, everyone will be protesting against each other, because it’s not only China who’s building,” Cayetano said.

It’s normal for countries to keep filing protests since this is part of diplomacy, he said, but the Philippines cannot allow that to affect everything else.

“If we do, our conflict will not only be with China. It will also be with Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and, to a certain extent, Taiwan,” he said.

Cayetano added that the disputes under the Law of the Sea are not like land disputes, where, if a concerned party does not protest, the claim of the other party could “mature.”

“Even if the claim has been there for 30 years and no one protests, if it’s not theirs, it’s not theirs, it will not mature into ownership,” he said. “If there are mistakes that have been made over the last 30 to 40 years, and there were some who protested every day and some who did not protest every day, don’t worry. That will not affect our claims per se.”

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  • Meltdown

    Lots talks of concern from this administration but nothing has been done to prevent Chinese expansion in West Philippine Sea. Since prior administration successful efforts of condemning Chinese illegal occupation of PH sovereign territory current administration has done nothing in depending PH territory. The worst case scenario should current administration will give away PH territory to Chinese, China will exercise international rights enforcing 200 miles EEZ which practically enguled half of PH territory and take possesion of the country’s energy resources. Thanks of corrupt of mind of Gloria Arroyo for allowing Chinese occupation of PH territory.

  • tarikan

    “If we do (diplomatic complain to China), our conflict will not only be with China. It will also be with Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and, to a certain extent, Taiwan,” Cayetano said.
    Why would our conflict straddles to Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, etc. if we file a diplomatic protest to China? China is the one constructing those structures and militarizing the area where they encroached. That is the stand of a defeatist..dancing to the tune of his Poong Ilong’s song.

    • lance ceellot

      eto na naman bunganga na naman.. sabi ng punta ka ng WPS.. kunin mo don ang bahagi ng pinas.. pasikat ka lang yata eh..

      • Felipe Torres

        Tsekwa ka siguro. Binayaran para takutin ang mga Noypi. Eh talaga naming duwag ang mga bataan ni GongDi at Panginoong Ungas

        • lance ceellot

          pakialam ko gerl hehehe

      • Felipe Torres

        sagutin mo ang tanong. why does GongDi not file a diplomatic protest against China. Why is our foreign affairs rolling over and disparaging those reports that favor Philippine sovereignty. Kumikita ba ang mga yupac na Cayetanong to-its

        • lance ceellot

          kaw na lang sumagot kung gusto mo ehehehe

          • Felipe Torres

            di mo kasi alam. o baka naman talagang wala kang alam kapris ng iyong panginoong digung-gong

      • tarikan

        Yan ang laging sagot “punta ka sa WPS” ng mga DiGungGong Dutititards. Mga makitid ang utak…ooops I’m sorry, walang utak pala, hehe. LanceIyot, are you capable of an intelligent discourse? Never mind, don’t answer my question because the answer is obvious. Sysmaryosep, to think that there are 16-M of you Dutititards.

        • lance ceellot

          sige na punta na don.. daming satsat..puro bunganga