Chinese presence in West Philippine Sea ''akin to somebody squatting on a piece of land'': DND
The Department of National Defense (DND) described the presence of Chinese ships like squatters in the West Philippine Sea.
“The Chinese presence in the WPS (West Philippine Sea) is akin to somebody squatting on a piece of land owned by someone else,” said Arsenio Andolong, DND spokesman, in a statement Thursday.
The DND issued its statement to clarify its stand on the country’s possession and position in West Philippine Sea which was according to him “has been the subject of much discussion and confusion lately after the President mentioned this during his 2019 State of the Nation Address.”
“While China may have an advantage in the South China Sea because of its existing structures built on artificial islands, which it has hardened and militarized, it is in position, and to a certain degree, has possession of only a very small part of the South China Sea,” he said.
“In the same vein, the Philippines also has possession and position in the West Philippine Sea. We have to clarify, however, that possession, position, and control are different realities that do not necessarily exist together,'' Andolong said.
''Although several claimant countries are occupying features in the South China Sea, not one of them has complete and sole control over that entire body of water,” he added.
Andolong “pointed out that the Philippines never gave up any of its positions in the WPS during the Duterte administration.”
“In fact, it is improving the existing facilities of its biggest island, Pag-asa, to accommodate more residents and personnel,” he said.
Andolong added that unlike China, the Philippines has documents to probe its claims in the West Philippine Sea.
“The UNCLOS, ratified in 1982 by many countries including the Philippines and China, is the legal basis of the Philippines’ claim of sovereign rights over its EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” he said.
“This was further affirmed by the PCA (Permanent Court of Arbitration) award to the Philippines in 2016, which invalidated China’s so-called historical claim delineated by its nine-dash line. Thus, the Philippines has two documents to support its claims versus none for the Chinese,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS