By Mei Jingya, Sina English
The China-Philippines maritime standoff has lasted for more than three months now. Manila is busy creating buzz and provoking one trouble after another while claiming it is actively seeking peaceful solutions to the row.
The Philippine GMA News reported on July 23 that the Philippine government 'frowned' at a reported suggestion from a Chinese fishery official to arm Chinese fishermen in the South China Sea, saying the idea will heighten tension in the area.
Philippine Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda also expressed "fears" that if so, efforts to de-escalate the situation might be "reduced to nothing".
"We have made efforts to deescalate tensions. And certainly arming fishermen will not be in the best interests of both countries," Lacierda said in a radio program on July 22.
According to The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Lacierda said the sea row over Huangyan Island may not be resolved peacefully if China armed its fishermen, when reacting to a report that quoted a Chinese fishery official as saying Beijing should provide arms and military training to more than 100,000 fishermen based in Hainan and allow them to venture out to the South China Sea.
"I don’t know if that is a responsible statement from a responsible official of the Chinese government. That is something the Chinese government will have to deal with," said Lacierda. He added this may "not look good internationally."