“Let us make it clear: Beijing has been the one disrespecting the Philippines’ sovereignty; not the other way around,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement April 28.
The senator made the statement in response to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s call on Philippines “to respect China’s sovereignty and rights and interests, and stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes.” Wang made the statement commenting on Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)’s recent maritime exercises in West Philippine Sea with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
“Beijing needs to stop contorting facts to suit her baseless claims. May I also remind Beijing that since the previous millennium, the South China Sea has always been shared by the region, as a common maritime route and a source of fish and marine resources,” Senator Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros also noted that it is “alarming that Beijing’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin had the gall to say that Philippine officials are the ones “complicating the situation and escalating disputes”.”
“It seems that China is the one hallucinating. She must be the one living in an alternate reality,” she said. “In truth, it is China that has been harassing our fisherfolk, reclaiming land in territories she does not own, and even using war vessels to chase off Filipino civilians.”
Hontiveros said that “if China sincerely wants to avoid escalation, it should pull back her navy and maritime militia. China can’t even respect freedom of navigation on the high seas, and now she wants respect for her unfounded nine-dash line?”
“If China truly wants respect, she should stop twisting and contesting the basic principles of international law. Just accept the hard truth: the West Philippine Sea belongs to us, not you,” she said.