Manila smears China to act as a victim in South China Sea
Published: Jun 08, 2024 10:16 PM
Photo: CCG

Photo: CCG

Just a few days after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. declared that Manila is "trying all mechanisms" to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea, another farce has been played by the Philippines in an attempt to provoke China and intensify tensions in this region.

The Philippine Coast Guard on Friday accused China of preventing it from evacuating a sick member of its armed forces in the South China Sea, calling its actions "barbaric and inhumane," Reuters reported. However, the exclusive on-site photos obtained by the Global Times on the same day showed that the ships dispatched by the Philippines carried a large amount of suspicious materials.

The Philippines seems to have become addicted to playacting when it comes to the South China Sea issue. It not only uses the military vessel illegally grounded at Ren'ai Jiao to stir up trouble, while is also particularly good at playing the trick of "a thief crying stop thief." No matter how much sophistry the Philippine side uses, it is all merely to cover up its guilty conscience.

In fact, this is not the first time that the Philippines has put on a self-directed show. On March 23, a supply vessel and two Coast Guard vessels dispatched by the Philippines, in the name of delivering daily supplies, intruded into the adjacent waters of Ren'ai Jiao without the permission of the Chinese government, attempting to send construction materials for its illegitimate occupation on Ren'ai Jiao in the longer term. Ironically, the Philippines accused the China Coast Guard of "provocative" in safeguarding China's rights and obstructing the Philippines' vessels in accordance with the law.

Photo: CCG

Photo: CCG

While the Philippines attempts to maintain its illegal presence in the South China Sea, it acts as the victim and continuously spreads false information in order to mislead international public opinion and to win the sympathy of the international community. The Philippines' provocations, under the guise of "transporting daily supplies" and "evacuating sick personnel," are nothing but a routine trick to challenge China's bottom line, force China to take action to safeguard its rights, and hype up China's "maritime bullying."

Manila's moves, which obviously run counter to President Marcos' promise to "ensure peace" in this region, are so aggressive that the situation in the South China Sea has drifted further and further away from resolution.

On January 17, the two sides reached a consensus at the Eighth Meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM), committing to properly handling the situation on Ren'ai Jiao so as to create favorable conditions for the sound and stable development of China-Philippines relations. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning made it clear on Friday that China can allow delivery of living necessities to the grounded warship or evacuation of personnel concerned if the Philippines notifies China in advance. However, the Philippines should not use this as an excuse for delivering construction materials in an attempt to permanently occupy Ren'ai Jiao.

No sovereign country will allow such rogue behavior within its territory. The legitimacy of China's countermeasures is evident, and China has maintained maximum restraint and patience. The Chinese side has made multiple temporary special arrangements for Philippine vessels transporting necessary supplies to the warship out of humanitarian considerations. Regrettably, Manila has failed to understand China's goodwill.

Apparently, it is not China but the Philippines itself acting in a "provocative" way. Ding Duo, deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Law and Policy at the China Institute for South China Sea Studies, believes that Manila's absurd accusations of China exactly reflect the Philippines' unlawful attempt to occupy the Chinese territory for a long time and China's response shows that it is taking necessary actions to safeguard China's territorial sovereignty.

The Philippines' behavior of saying one thing and doing the opposite will only undermine its national reputation and credibility. The consequence is that not only China, but even other countries will have enough reasons to find that the Philippines is not a trustworthy country in international relations and is the culprit of undermining peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The machinations of the Philippines will eventually come to light. The fact should be recognized by Manila: the repeated provocations for the moment will only bring about its own humiliation since China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea are based on solid historical and legal grounds.

How to correctly understand China's stance and goodwill on Ren'ai Jiao, and how to learn valuable experience from the ups and downs of the South China Sea situation and the China-Philippines relations over the years, these questions are more worthy for the Philippines to ponder over than engaging in a cognitive war against China over the South China Sea.