Hontiveros blasts Beijing’s stand on Ayungin Shoal incident
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday asked China to end its “lies, gaslighting, and propaganda” after Beijing’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin defended a China Coast Guard vessel’s maneuvers against Philippine Coast Guard ships in the Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal on June 30.
Wang had said China’s actions were “professional and restrained” since the Ayungin Shoal, which he referred to as Ren’ai Reef, is part of China’s Nansha Islands.
This, however, did not sit well with Hontiveros.
“Beijing’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson should stop with the lies, gaslighting, and propaganda. He is not helping his country on the world stage by insisting on these sweeping and baseless claims,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
The opposition lawmaker said the latest of Beijing’s coercive actions in the West Philippine Sea happened in Ayungin Shoal – not in Ren’ai Reef or Nansha Islands, “and certainly not on Chinese territory.”
“Our coast guard vessels were on a routine resupply mission in Philippine waters, but Chinese vessels illegally maneuvered to interdict them. This is the truth,” she asserted.
If China aims to be a responsible member of the community of nations, Hontiveros said Wang should urge his government to obey international law and acknowledge the Philippines’ rights over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.
Ayungin Shoal, a reef some 194 kilometers off Palawan province, is within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
China has sweeping claims in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.
In 2016, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated Beijing’s claims within the so-called nine-dash line.
China, however, has refused to recognize the landmark ruling.