Don’t use South China Sea dispute to smear China, embassy urges

The Chinese Embassy in Manila called out a Filipino ambassador over his remarks that the “real flashpoint” in the region is the disputed waters in the South China Sea.

West Philippine Sea.jpgWest Philippine Sea (File Photo from AFP)


In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Sunday, March 3, the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy did not name Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez but warned an “individual” against spreading accusations.

“It is deplorable that the said individual, in ignorance of basic facts, again used the South China Sea issue to hype up and launch a baseless accusation and malicious smear campaign against China,” the statement read.

“We urge the said individual to stop spreading erroneous ‘China threat’ and ‘Sinophobia’ remarks, refrain from serving as mouthpiece for another country and do more for the benefit of his own people and his country’s relations with China instead,” it added.

During the Consular Corps of the Philippines on Wednesday, Feb. 28, Romualdez said that the tensions between the Philippines and China are more alarming than the possibility of an escalated dispute between China and Taiwan.

“The real problem and the real flashpoint, which is why I’m telling you how critical it is for us. The real flashpoint is in the West Philippine Sea,” he stated, referring to the term used for the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The embassy instead maintained that “Asian countries and people have the wisdom and ability to solve their own problems.”

“Bringing in outside forces and forming ‘small circles’ will not help resolve disputes in the South China Sea, but only complicate the regional situation, undermine regional peace and stability, and backfire on its own security,” the embassy said.

In the same event, Romualdez claimed that “all of these skirmishes that are happening there” can cause a major accident that would invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty.

The 1951 MDT is a defense agreement between Washington and Manila that can compel both countries to come to each other’s aid in case of an armed attack in the region.

But the embassy, without naming anyone, hinted at “those who habitually pay lip service.”

“Whether their promises will be kept this time is for all to wait and see,” it added.