Sunday, June 27, 2021



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FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2020, file photo, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs

 Teodoro Locsin Jr. gestures during a senate hearing in Manila, Philippines. The Philippine government has protested the Chinese coast guard's harassment of Philippine coast guard ships patrolling a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday, May 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

China Would 'Seize' the Philippines in A War With The US

Warn US (May 04, 2021) Chinese aircraft carrier hits US warship disrupting PLA Naval Drills in SCS

China is expected to seize control of some of the Philippines’ waterways if a war emerges between Beijing and Washington, former Philippine Armed Forces chief Emmanuel Bautista said.

Among the routes Bautista identified were the Bashi Channel next to the Batanes and Babuyan Islands near Taiwan and the straits of Mindoro, Cebu, Balabac, San Bernardino and Surigao.

“If you want to influence the South China Sea, you need to control these chokepoints,” Bautista said.

Although China said it would not start a war amid escalating tensions with the United States, Bautista said Beijing was “getting more aggressive” in the disputed sea and its border with India

“Territorial disputes in the Indo-Pacific are flashpoints that can spark a confrontation between the US and China,” he said.

Bautista said a war between the U.S. and China would “seek to control the country."

“Assuming [things] get out of hand and result in a shooting war … China will seize the Philippines,” Bautista said.

Moreover, he said China’s militarization and the construction of island bases posed a “direct threat.”

“From these bases, China can launch missiles and fighter aircraft towards our main archipelago within minutes,” Bautista said.

Bautista also warned about Chinese “grey zone” activities or efforts even before a potential conflict to control strategic parts of the Philippines.

“There are already activities being undertaken by China to access the Philippines in terms of procuring or constructing airports and seaports. There was an effort to acquire not just Fuga Island, which is one of the chokepoints, but even the Sangley airport construction [at the mouth of Manila Bay,” Bautista said.

With this, Bautista said the challenge for the Philippines is to assert its rights while, at the same time, avoiding conflict.

“We cannot set aside sovereignty and sovereign acts just because we want to avoid conflict,” he said. -

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government has protested the Chinese coast guard’s harassment of Philippine coast guard ships patrolling a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

It was the latest of dozens of recent protests by Manila’s foreign affairs department, along with increasingly acerbic remarks by the country’s top diplomat and defense chief about Chinese actions in the disputed waters. The high-profile feud has escalated despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s friendly stance toward China.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. used an obscene phrase in a tweet demanding China get out of Philippine-claimed areas. “What are you doing to our friendship?” Locsin asked. “You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend,.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana rejected China’s demand that the Philippines end its patrols in the disputed region. “While we acknowledge that China’s military capability is more advanced than ours, this does not prevent us from defending our national interests and our dignity as a people with all that we have,” Lorenzana said in a video message late Sunday,

In the latest incident, the Department of Foreign Affairs said it “has protested the shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver and radio challenges by the Chinese coast guard of Philippine coast guard vessels conducting legitimate maritime patrols and training exercises” from April 24 to 25 near Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines.

Both countries claim the rich fishing area, which China effectively seized in 2012 by surrounding it with its coast guard and surveillance ships after a tense standoff with Philippine vessels.

The department said it also protested “the incessant, illegal, prolonged and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones” in the disputed waters. It said hundreds of Chinese vessels have been spotted by Philippine law enforcement agencies from January to March this year in areas around Scarborough Shoal and Philippine-occupied Thitu Island, which Filipinos call Pagasa.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has asked the Philippines to respect what it calls Chinese sovereignty in the disputed waters and “stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes.” China claims virtually all of the South China Sea. On Sunday, its People’s Liberation Army said a Chinese aircraft carrier group recently conducted annual exercises in the busy sea lanes.

The escalating feud between Manila and Beijing started after more than 200 Chinese vessels suspected by Philippine authorities to be operated by militias were spotted in early March at Whitsun Reef. The Philippine government demanded the vessels leave, then deployed coast guard vessels to the area. China said it owns the reef and the Chinese vessels were sheltering from rough seas.

Many of the Chinese vessels have left Whitsun, about 175 nautical miles (325 kilometers) west of the Philippine province of Palawan, but several have remained moored in the area, part of a shallow atoll partly occupied by China and Vietnam. The Philippine government says the reef is within an internationally recognized offshore zone where Manila has exclusive rights to exploit fisheries, oil, gas and other resources.

The United States has said it will stand by the Philippines amid the territorial disputes.

In early March the Philippines Defense Minister revealed that a Chinese survey ship was found in the rise. He further revealed that there had also been possible survey operations over a three-month period last fall and that the Philippines had sent China a dozen diplomatic protests over the issue.

The Philippines won U.N. recognition of Benham Rise as part of its continental shelf in 2012, granting it exclusive economic rights beyond the 200 nautical miles typically granted coastal states. Located some 150 nautical miles east of the Philippines, the area is not part of maritime disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. However, since reports of the Chinese survey ships resurfaced in March, the Philippines increased patrols efforts by its navy and coast guard to protect its claims over the region.

China’s reaction to the reports and accusation was surprisingly conciliatory and went to pains to highlight positive Sino-Filipino relations and make assurances that it had no designs on the rise. A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that, “the Chinese side fully respects the Phillippines’ rights over the continental shelf in the Benham Rise. There is no such thing of China challenging the Philippines’ rights.” She went on to assert that the survey vessel was exercising innocent passage and freedom of navigation consistent with the UN Law of the Sea and had not conducted survey activities in the area.

While circumstantial evidence that China has been surveying the area is strong, admitting to it would put China in a difficult position. If the surveying was for commercial exploitation, it would violate the Philippines’ economic rights that China says it recognizes. If the surveying was for military purposes, then it would weaken China’s position against similar surveys that the U.S. Navy conducts in the South China Sea, which China claims violate UN Law of the Sea prohibitions against certain military activities in other states’ exclusive economic zones.

Yet another possibility raised by the Philippines Defense Minister is that the surveys might also be to support Chinese submarine operations. The zone could play a critical role in a potential clash with the United States.

The Benham Rise is directly south of the eastern approaches to the Luzon Strait between Taiwan and the Philippines, which is the main access route from the Western Pacific Ocean to the South China Sea. In a conflict, control of that strait would dictate whether China’s South Sea Fleet could “break out” of the South China Sea into the Western Pacific to the waters between the first and second island chains, or if the U.S. Navy could move forces into the South China Sea to conduct its own combat operations.

Claim: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed the “entire eastern Philippine Sea and Benham rise” as “Chinese territory.”

Known opposition Facebook page “Silent No More PH” posted the claim on November 9. The post garnered 1,700 reactions, 480 comments, and 1,500 shares.

The full quote reads:

We are the first sovereign state who did scientific research and completely mapped the Benham Rise therefore in behalf of the People’s Republic of China, I, Wang Yi, foreign minister, claim the entire eastern Philippine Sea and declare Benham Rise as Chinese territory.

It was captioned, “Dear Fellow Filipinos, Made possible with the all out support of traitor Katay Digong! Dati WPS, ngayon pati Benham Rise! Kailan pa kayo magigising sa bangungot nito?” (When will we wake up from this nightmare?)

The claim was also posted by Facebook user Mariz Cruz on the same date.

Readers also sent this claim to Rappler for verification.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: There is no such quote from Wang.

A foreign minister or secretary’s statements are deemed to reflect a country's position on issues. Therefore, any declaration should be supported by official documents, press releases, or reports.

This supposed declaration by Wang cannot be found on the website of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the website of the Chinese embassy in the Philippines, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs website, nor in any news report from credible news organizations.

Rappler has sent an email to the Chinese embassy to further verify the supposed quote, but it has yet to reply.

Silent No More PH did not link the quote to a source or document.

Rappler asked Silent No More PH and Mariz Cruz about the source of the quote, but they have not responded as of posting time. Commenters in Silent No More’s post also asked them about the source of the supposed quote, but the page has yet to reply.

The Philippines and China signed 3 agreements during Wang’s recent visit to Davao on October 29. While there is no mention of maritime issues in the agreements, Wang said the two countries can “shelve differences and pursue joint development” in the West Philippine Sea.

Benham Rise, which is not a disputed area, was not reportedly discussed during Wang's trip. The government permitted a 33-day maritime research of Chinese scientists, which started on January 24, covering the "eastern side of Luzon and Mindanao" including Benham Rise.

13-million-hectare underwater plateau, Benham Rise is located off the coast of Aurora. The United Nations in 2012 considered it part of the Philippines' extended continental shelf. (FAST FACTS: What you should know about Benham Rise)

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