China won't attack Philippines, says envoy
China would not attack the Philippines.
Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua made the statement in response to the assurance made by United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo when he visited Manila last week that America would support the Philippines in case of an armed attack in the South China Sea due to their existing Mutual Defense Treaty.
The Philippines and China are engaged in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
"Well, we are worried about possible attacks from the other side. We don’t worry about China attacking anybody because it is not our policy," Zhao told reporters on Wednesday night in Malacanang where he attended an event.
Zhao said China is more concerned about the peace and stability in the South China Sea.
"Everybody, every country will suffer if peace and stability become something to the opposite, that it’s chaos or conflict. So I think it is in the common interest of all countries, including China, including the United States and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, that we keep the peace and stability there and we keep the freedom of navigation in the whole South China Sea open," he said.
The envoy also said his office has been checking reports that Chinese vessels have been driving away Filipino fishermen in Pag-asa Island, which is off Palawan province and is being claimed also by China.
"We are checking and we are in close coordination with DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and we will be checking whether it is true or not but rest assured China is committed to peacefully settle the disputes we have and we are working very well in managing our differences," he said.
Zhao said China, the Philippines, and other members of ASEAN have been working on the code of conduct in the South China Sea.
The Philippines is currently the country coordinator for the China-ASEAN dialogue. Celerina Monte/DMS