Wed, May 23, 2012
China > China & World

Manila draws third party to turn dispute into mass brawl

2012-05-23 03:24:21 GMT2012-05-23 11:24:21(Beijing Time)

By Wang Qi, Sina English

China on Tuesday voiced firm opposition to the Philippines' attempt to draw a third party into the incident over Huangyan Island.

The move will "further escalate the situation and even change the nature of the issue," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei during a routine press briefing.

The comments came as the Philippines in recent days kicked start a new flurry of provocative moves.

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin announced in high profile on Tuesday that Manila is speeding up its weaponry modernization, saying it has a purchase program of up to 138 items to "safeguard its territory" over the next five years, among which 58 have been approved, said Gazmin.

He revealed that the Aquino III administration is working on a defense budget of 70 billion pesos (1.67 billion U.S. dollars) in a bid to push for the country's military modernization.

On the same day, Jessie Dellosa, chief general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, attended a ceremony in the United States to receive the second Hamilton class cutter, formerly known as USS Dallas.

The guard ship was acquired by the Philippines from the U.S. under Washington's Foreign Military Sales program for 400 million pesos (9.26 million U.S. dollars). And it is expected to bolster the Philippine Navy's capability in protecting the Philippines' maritime interest, particularly in the South China Sea.

To give a boost to its seemingly downcast morale in the face of a giant unyielding even an inch to any pressure as regards its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Philippines has to drag its strong ally the U.S. , ASEAN countries and powers in the region like Japan, South Korea and even Australia into the ongoing disputes with China.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert de Rosario said on Tuesday that some other countries, except for the U.S., would help the Philippines establish a "minimum credible defense posture" to complement its diplomatic capacity in dealing with territorial disputes with China, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a Manila-based newspaper.

Last week, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin confirmed reports that the Philippines would acquire at least 10 patrol boats from Japan.

All these moves suggest Philippine has been seeking a third party intervention, even military assistance in the Huangyan Island incident, with the intention to internationalize the bilateral dispute, only to complicate the already volatile situation.

When asked for comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China has consistently urged Manila to correct its mistakes and ease the tensions through diplomatic means. He reaffirmed that Huangyan Island is indisputable part of China's territory.



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