Cayetano’s red lines PR stunt, says Alejano
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano’s disclosure of “red lines” regarding the country’s ongoing dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea are “nothing more than hollow public relations propaganda with no action or results to back them up,” an opposition lawmaker said on Friday.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, in a statement, said the imposition of red lines were “ironic considering that the Duterte administration is saying that the Philippines has limited defense capabilities.”
“The Duterte administration, with the President himself, recognizes our limited defense capabilities. With such view, it suggests that Secretary Cayetano’s red lines could not be backed up by concrete actions if things come to worst,” he said.
Alejano cautioned against the “vague motherhood statements and empty rhetoric” being used by the country’s top diplomat.
“By bending their statements, the more will people lose their faith in him and the foreign policy of the President in the West Philippine Sea. The public needs clear, no-nonsense statements with concrete actions to back them up,” he said.
Cayetano told a hearing in the House of Representatives last week that the Philippines had laid down four red lines in the West Philippine Sea that China should not cross.
A red line is a condition set by a certain party which, when violated, may result to severe consequences, ranging from economic sanctions to military actions imposed by the party that set the condition.
These red lines, as announced by Cayetano, are for the Chinese not to reclaim Scarborough Shoal, remove the Philippine Navy’s BRP Sierra Madre from its anchor in Ayungin Shoal, harass soldiers resupplying and conducting repairs on Philippine-occupied islands, and extract natural resources in the West Philippine Sea.
Alejano said two of the four red lines had been crossed by China. Filipino troops resupplying the Sierra Madre outpost in Ayungin on May 11 were harassed by the Chinese coast guard and navy, he said.
Alejano also said that Chinese fishermen had long been poaching Philippine waters.
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