US official’s remarks ‘wantonly incite confrontation’ – Chinese embassy

Published November 24, 2020, 1:29 AM

by Roy Mabasa

The Chinese embassy in Manila on Monday said the visit of United States National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien to the Philippines is not to promote regional peace and stability but to create chaos in the region.

In a statement, the Chinese embassy took exception to what it called “unreasonable remarks” earlier made by O’Brien criticizing Beijing over the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan issues.

“He blatantly accused China on no ground, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, deliberately exaggerated regional tensions and attempted to sow discord between China and the Philippines,” the Embassy said, adding that the US official’s remarks are “full of Cold War mentality and wantonly incite confrontation.”

In his remarks at the turnover of US missile defense systems at the DFA main office on Monday morning, O’Brien reiterated Washington’s position that it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Philippines in protecting its sovereign rights, offshore resources, and “all of those rights that are consistent with international law.”

“I just want to say that those resources belong to the children and grandchildren of the people here. They belong to the Philippine people. They don’t belong to some other country that just because they may be big, and they may be bigger than the Philippines, they can come to take away and convert the resources of the Philippine people. That’s just wrong,” O’Brien said in obvious reference to China.

The Chinese embassy, however, scored the United States for allegedly interfering in the efforts of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to “peacefully negotiate and manage disputes, and seriously undermined regional peace and stability.”

“The US is not a party to the SCS (South China Sea) dispute, but it frequently sends warships and planes to the SCS on numerous occasions for military provocations, goes as far as using the electronic codes of civil aviation planes of the Philippines and other regional countries to carry out espionage flights in the SCS,” the Embassy said.

China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Taiwan have overlapping maritime claims in the South China Sea, vast waterways where an estimated US$3.37 trillion worth of trade passes through annually.

In July, 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippine petition to invalidate China’s outrageous nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

China refused to recognize the 2016 arbitral ruling that scrapped its claims to more than 80 percent of the South China Sea even as the decision was “final, binding and not subject to appeal.”