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7月10日のまにら新聞から

Be wary of disinformation and fake news spread by China: NSC

[ 648 words|2024.7.10|英字 (English) ]

The Philippine government warns the public and the international community against disinformation and fake news spread by China following reports of environmental damage allegedly caused by the grounded World War II Philippine Navy ship in Ayungin Shoal.

In a statement on Tuesday, Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya, National Security Council spokesman, also called for an independent, third party marine scientific assessment to establish the real cause of damage to marine environment in the West Philippine Sea.

"We call on the public and the international community to be wary and conscious of on-going activities by Chinese state-owned media and so-called “Chinese experts” to spread fake news and disinformation and conduct malign influence operations in the Philippines, including this false accusation against BRP Sierra Madre," he said.

"We call for an independent, third party marine scientific assessment in the West Philippine Sea by impartial recognized experts --- using underwater surveys, collated satellite imagery, photo and video references, and other scientific means to establish the causes of coral reef damages and other recorded destruction of the maritime environment in the West Philippine Sea," he added

The NSC issued the statement following reports from Chinese newspaper Global Times about the result of an on-site ecosystem survey where Chinese experts claim heavy metal precipitation caused by the BRP Sierra Madre's corrosion, and the discharge of garbage and sewage from the personnel on the vessel have had a long-term hazardous impact on the health of corals.

Malaya said "the accusation against the Philippines by so-called 'Chinese experts' is false and a classic misdirection" as he noted that "it is China who has been found to have caused irreparable damage to corals".

"It is China that has caused untold damage to the maritime environment, and jeopardized the natural habitat and the livelihood of thousands of Filipino fisherfolk. In fact, China’s involvement in the destruction of the maritime environment was established by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in 2016," he said.

"On Page 464 of the Arbitral Award, it states that China has aggravated the dispute by building a large artificial island on Mischief Reef (Panganiban Reef); inflicting permanent, irreparable harm to the coral habitat of Mischief Reef (Panganiban Reef); and commencing large-scale island building and construction work in Cuarteron Reef (Calderon Reef), Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan Reef), Gaven Reef (Burgos Reef), Johnson Reef (Mabini Reef), Hughes Reef (McKennan Reef), and Subi Reef (Zamora Reef). These artificial islands now serve as Chinese military bases," he added.

Malaya also stressed that "the Arbitral Tribunal found that Chinese authorities were aware that their fishers were harvesting endangered sea turtles, coral, and giant clams on a substantial scale in the South China Sea, using methods that inflict severe damage on the coral reef environment, and they had not fulfilled their obligations to stop such activities."

He cited a 2023 report by the independent Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) that "more than 6,200 acres (25sq. kilometers) of coral reef have been destroyed by island-building activities in the South China Sea, with 75 percent of the damage being done by China; another 16,353 acres (66.1 sq. kilometers) of coral reef were damaged due to giant clam harvesting by Chinese fishermen, and China has caused the most reef destruction through dredging and landfill, burying roughly 4,648 acres (18.8km2) of reef."

Malaya said "the Philippines has also collated evidence that China has been responsible for severe damage to corals in Bajo de Masinloc, Rozul Reef, Escoda Shoal, Sabina Shoal, and Pag-asa Cays 1, 2, and 3, among others".

"The swarming and indiscriminate, illegal fishing activities of Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) in these areas have severely degraded the marine environment in the West Philippine Sea," he said.

"We invite other Indo-Pacific nations to join the Philippines in pushing for a more united, coordinated, and sustained multilateral action to protect and preserve the marine and land biodiversity in our region," said Malaya. Robina Asido/DMS