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PH can’t rely on US in sea dispute vs China, say solons

/ 08:02 PM May 21, 2015

Amid growing tension over the contested West Philippine Sea, two lawmakers said the Philippines could not rely on the United States for support in its plight against China’s aggressive reclamation of the disputed areas.

In House Resolution 2031, Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate urged the Philippine government to conduct a “diplomatic offensive” through international parliamentary networks because the country “cannot rely on the duplicitous United States of America.”

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Colmenares claimed the US was only committed to reaffirming its “military superiority” and political power in Asia, citing its Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines.

The leftist lawmaker also said the US Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian Pacific did not express its support for the Philippines.

Colmenares instead called for a “diplomatic solution” by engaging other countries to back the Philippines in its stand on the maritime disputes, and to denounce China’s aggressive approach to its claims.

“It will not be difficult to get the support of other parliaments and their individual members because our exercise of sovereignty is based in international conventions and practices,” Colmenares said.

As shown by satellite images, China has been keen in its reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) and Panganiban (Mischief) Reefs, where artificial islands, fortified seawalls and other structures are seen being built.

READ: New images show progress of Chinese reclamation in Panganiban Reef

Based on a video by a US surveillance plane, a CNN report on Thursday also said Kagitingan reef now had military barracks, a lookout tower and long runway.

“Fleets of dozens of dredgers could be seen hard at work, sucking sand off the bottom of the sea and blowing it in huge plumes to create new land above the surface,” the report said.

READ: ‘Go away,’ China tells US spy plane in West PH Sea –report

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Colmenares said China’s activities could be a global threat as it might affect the trade of goods between countries, adding the Congress should devise ways to defend the Philippine territory and reduce tensions at the same time.

“We may not win through military might but certainly we are among them in the legal, moral and diplomatic arenas,” he said. RC

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TAGS: China, Panganiban reef, Reclamation, sea dispute, South China sea, West Philippine Sea
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