MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson is pushing for a review of the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China in the wake of China’s recent incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, Lacson stressed that a review of the diplomatic relations between the two countries is “timely and called for” following reports on China’s continued activities in the Philippine territorial waters despite the diplomatic protests filed by the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“What kind of friend – or benefactor – would take what is ours, bully us, and ignore our protests?” said Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on national defense.
“Maybe a review of the country’s diplomatic relations is timely and called for. All the diplomatic protests that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs filed have been ignored as if nothing was filed at all. The continued incursions and bullying finally got his goat. The Senate must support him in this regard,” he added.
In pushing for a review of Philippine-China diplomatic ties, Lacson pointed out the Philippines must become “innovative and creative” in approaching the issue as diplomatic protests no longer seem effective.
“There are so many possibilities to explore,” he said.
On the other hand, Lacson said the review should go hand in hand with seeking stronger alliances with the more militarily powerful countries like the United States, Australia, even Japan and some European Union countries to maintain the balance of power in the region as he pointed out China has already made at least three incursions into Philippines EEZ – Scarborough Shoal, Panatag Shoal, and now Julian Felipe Reef.
Lacson said Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, the principal author and sponsor of a recently filed Senate resolution on the WPS issue, has accepted his proposed amendments.
His first proposed amendment to the resolution is changing the word “condemning” to “strongly objecting.”
“To condemn means some sort of eternal divine punishment. Hence, no matter how unlikely, in case China eases up on its aggressive stance, our condemnation cannot be taken back,” he said.
His second proposed amendment was to “urge the Department of Foreign Affairs to consider a review of the long existing diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China in order to send a clear message that the incursions into our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in utter disregard of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the rule of law is totally unacceptable.”
The senator also reiterated that the issue on the West Philippine Sea should not be connected with other issues, including vaccine donations.
“We should have a united stand on the West Philippine Sea, and this should not be connected to any other issue except sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.