by UNTV News and Rescue | Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019
TAIPEI, Taiwan – President Tsai Ing-Wen said her government is not intimidated by China’s military drills which a senior U.S. official described as “coercion” and a threat to stability in the region.
On Monday (April 15), China’s People’s Liberation Army said its warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft had conducted “necessary drills” around Taiwan, saying the movement was part of a routine.
“As president, I want to tell you that Taiwan is not intimidated. These actions only serve to strengthen our resolve. Our military forces have the capacity, determination and commitment to defend Taiwan and not allow coercion to dictate our own future,” Tsai said in her speech during a forum co-hosted by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to mark the 40th anniversary of Taiwan-U.S. ties under the Taiwan Relations Act.
Tsai revealed that the Trump administration had notified Taipei of its third arms sale to Taiwan and the training of pilots at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona which she said are measures so important to Taiwan’s national defense.
“I will reiterate here as well, that we will not give up even one inch of our sovereign territory, we will always insist on our democratic freedom,” she said.
The event was attended by a delegation led by Paul Ryan, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who criticized China for not renouncing use of force to achieve its goal of unification.
“These kinds of things should stop, they are irresponsible and they undermine the framework that has enabled peace and stability and development for decades. It’s counterproductive,” Ryan said.
The visit by U.S. officials comes just weeks after Tsai said the United States was responding positively to Taipei’s requests for new arms sales to bolster its defenses in the face of growing pressure from China.
The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and it is the self-ruled nation’s main source of arms. (REUTERS)
Salvador also said that the Palace is against the presence of these Chinese vessels and insists that they should leave the West Philippine Sea.
“They will know that we are against it. That we will not allow it. That we will not tolerate such presence in our territory. They have no business being there. It is if they continue to be present to our territory then it is an assault to our sovereignty,” he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs already submitted a diplomatic protest against China regarding the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island.
President Rodrigo Duterte also said he will not allow Chinese vessels to occupy Pag-asa Island. Duterte is also prepared to apply stronger measures if there are Filipino fishermen or soldiers affected due to the presence of Chinese vessels.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – A recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that 4 out of 10 Filipinos do not believe that China’s intention towards the Philippines is beneficial to Filipinos.
The survey, fielded in December 2018 among 1,440 respondents, found that 44 percent of Filipino adults disagreed with the statement: “Most of what the Chinese government wants to happen in the Philippines is good for the Filipinos.”
22 percent said they strongly agree with the statement while 29 percent “somewhat disagreed,” the SWS survey findings stated.
The survey results were released amid reports about the influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines, loan deals between the Manila and Beijing and the long-standing dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
Malacañang on Monday slammed the recent SWS survey, branding it as “political propaganda” employed by the Duterte administration’s ardent critics and detractors.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo expressed hope that more Filipinos would appreciate the relation between the Philippines and China once they see its positive effects on the economy.
Panelo also added that Filipinos must understand that the government’s move to diversify the country’s allies is intended for the sole benefit of the Filipino people and not for any foreign race.
“We are seeing that there would be a change of hearts and minds from those undecided and even those who disagree—whom we believe are used to the United States as our long-standing ally—once our enhanced ties with China start to yield positive economic results,” Panelo said in a statement.
In line with SWS recent survey, the UNTV News and Rescue went around to ask some Filipinos about their thoughts on whether China’s intentions are good for the Philippines.
Of the 10 individuals interviewed on the street by the UNTV news team, 8 have expressed doubt about the warming ties between Manila and Beijing.
Most of the interviewees expressed fear that China will invade the Philippines, in reference to reports about Chinese vessels that “swarmed” near disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea, bullying local fishermen against entering the resource-rich lagoons.
The other two expressed neutrality on the issue, saying China has helped the country in some ways such as trading, investments and financing some of the government’s infrastructure projects.
Professor Jay Batongbacal, Director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, offered his view on why some Filipinos continue to distrust China despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s high praises for his newfound ally.
“China had a huge trust deficit to begin with, ever since. Recent controversies have probably magnified that lack of trust and fuels suspicions about China’s intentions despite its constant attempts to portray then as otherwise,” he said.
“Government’s tendency to bend over in defending China aggravates the distrust and suspicion even more,” he added.
Duterte has recently told China to back off from Pag-asa Island and vowed to never allow China to occupy the island long-held by the Philippines.
Duterte’s rare remark against Beijing came after the Philippine military warned that hundreds of Chinese vessels were spotted in the disputed waterway in the first quarter of 2019.
The President, however, assured he is prepared to reach for a compromise with China and that there is no need for the Philippines to use force against its more powerful neighbor. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)
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