Aquino started South China Sea militarization — Palace
After saying that President Rodrigo Duterte will not apologize for his friendly policies on China, Malacañang on Monday blamed former President Benigno Aquino III for starting the “militarization” of the South China Sea.
The president has been criticized for his soft stand against China over Manila’s sea dispute with Beijing in the West Philippine Sea.
However, in a press briefing in Cagayan De Oro, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, “Kung tayo po ay gagamit ng dahas gaya ng ginawa ni Presidente Aquino na naging dahilan kung bakit nandoon na ngayon ang mga Tsino sa Panatag, ‘yung pagpapadala ng isang Navy ship, ay magreresulta po ‘yan sa isang hidwaang militar na iniiwasan natin.”
Roque was referring to the standoff between the Philippines and China at the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 after the Aquino government sent a Philippine Navy ship to chase Chinse poachers in the area.
Beijing eventually seized the shoal and has been in control of the shoal since the standoff.
“Huwag po nating kalimutan na si Presidente Aquino ang unang nag-militarize niyan dahil siya nagpadala ng Navy. Kaya tuloy tuluyan na hindi na umalis ang mga Tsino sa Scarborough o Panatag,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, Roque defended Duterte’s friendly stance against China, setting aside the United Nations (UN) ruling that invalidated China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.
Roque said the President’s strategy would give “solution” to Manila’s maritime dispute with Beijing. “Hindi po nag-a-apologize ang Pangulo sa kanyang polisiya sa Tsina,” the president’s spokesperson said.
“Itong pagkakaibigan po, siya pong dahilan kung [bakit] nagkakaroon ng mas malawakang pagsasamahan sa bansang Tsina,” Roque said.
The dispute in the West Philippine Sea, he said, should be resolved through diplomacy.
“Yung mga pinag-aagawang isla po, kailangang maresolba rin ‘yan sa diplomasya,” he added. /vvp
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