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S. China Sea issue, where is Philippines’ restraint?

(People's Daily Online)

08:17, July 27, 2012

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said in his state of the union address on July 23 that the Philippines had shown “restraint” during the Huangyan Island stand-off in the South China Sea. It is ridiculous to say that Manila has shown “restraint.”

Look what the Philippines has done. It has built a kindergarten on China’s Zhongye Island without the permission of the Chinese government, bid out oil and gas exploration areas in China’s territorial waters, sent warships to harass Chinese fishermen in the Huangyan Island waters, held joint military drills with the United States involving the exercise of retaking petroleum drilling platform, threatened to invite U.S. reconnaissance aircraft to patrol disputed areas in the South China Sea, and tried to take advantage of the South China Sea issue to “kidnap” the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The South China Sea would have been much more peaceful if without the successive little tricks of the Philippines.

Restraint is one of the main principles established in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed between China and the ASEAN 10 years ago.

According to Article V of the declaration, the parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would not complicate or escalate disputes nor affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from inhabiting currently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features, and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.

Restraint requires the concerted efforts of both sides. The situation will worsen if one side exercises restraint, while the other refuses or pretends to do so.

None of the Philippines’ dirty little tricks will change the fact that Huangyan Island belongs to China. As tensions have eased over the Huangyan Island dispute, China hopes the Philippines will take more actions that will help further ease the tense situation and promote the healthy development of China-Philippines relations. This serves the fundamental interests of both countries and their people, and will help promote peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

Read the Chinese version: 菲总统竟有底气大谈“克制”?, source: People's Daily, author: Zhong Sheng

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