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Manila defies consensus

(China Daily)

08:18, July 26, 2013

The anti-China protests staged by a newly formed coalition of private Philippine groups in front of the Chinese embassy in Manila and consular offices in other parts of the world are yet another antic to sensationalize the territorial dispute in the South China Sea between the two countries.

Manila is using the protests to mislead public opinion and pass the buck for the escalating tensions between the two countries onto China.

But instead of bolstering its case as Manila wants, such protests only serve to further poison the atmosphere for meaningful consultations.

A lie is still a lie even if it is repeated a hundred times. People who are open to the truth will not be hoodwinked by Manila's farce. The dispute stems from the illegal seizing of Chinese territory in the South China Sea by the Philippines.

At a time when China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are making preparations for consultations on a code of conduct in implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which is scheduled to take place in September in Beijing, the anti-China drama is the latest reminder that Manila is not willing to take a constructive approach to dealing with the troubles in the South China Sea.

Just days ago, we were shocked by official messages from Manila saying that all possibilities for a peaceful solution had been exhausted, which suggests that decision-makers there have no inclination to seek a peaceful ending to the dispute.

Unless Manila truly seeks a solution that is other than peaceful, it may want to watch its words and deeds more closely.

Its attempt to internationalize the issue by staging protests in other countries is in open defiance to the consensus reached between China and ASEAN to resolve the territorial disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral dialogues and negotiations.

Manila is only estranging itself from its neighbors by choosing to go it alone.

In his state of the nation address delivered on Monday, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III was eager for more Chinese tourists to visit his country, saying: "Hopefully, they will love us more."

Staging anti-China protests does not match the words and will only alienate the two peoples further.

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