One of China’smost popular newspapers has warned of a potential “small-scale war” betweenBeijing and Manila as a result of their standoff at Panatag Shoal, orScarborough Shoal as the area is known internationally.
The Global Times,in an editorial published in its Chinese and English editions, said over theweekend that “China should be prepared to engage in a small-scale war at seawith the Philippines.”
“Once the warerupts, China must take resolute action to deliver a clear message to theoutside world that it does not want a war, but definitely has no fear of it,”the tabloid said.
Malacañang andPhilippine military officials were unfazed by the toughly worded editorial.
In a speech atXavier School in Greenhills, San Juan City, President Benigno Aquino III onTuesday said his administration was raising international awareness on theterritorial dispute between the Philippines and China to show the globalcommunity how Beijing was treating Manila.
菲律宾 Zheng Fu 和军方对时报的 Qiang Ying 社论表态表示毫无畏惧。
Mr. Aquino saidthe Philippines wanted to take the issue to the International Tribunal on theLaw of the Sea but China’s cooperation was needed to resolve it.
“Our weapon reallyhere is for the world to know what we are doing,” the President said. “Thesenations could start thinking if this is how we are being treated—whether theyare as big or as small as us—maybe there will come a time that they willget the same treatment [from China],” he said.
He maintained itwas not his intention to escalate the problem with China.
“We own theshoal,” Mr. Aquino said, referring to Panatag, which lies about 200 kilometerswest of Zambales province. “For so long a time we own it and [we are]recognized by international law, especially under the United Nations Conventionon the Law of the Sea (Unclos). That’s the only thing that we’re asking.”
Asked for commenton the Chinese paper’s editorial, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)spokesperson Raul Hernandez said that “such irresponsible comments do not merita response from us.”
The Global Timesis owned by the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, The People’s Daily. Ithas a reputation for publishing nationalistic editorials that are often highlycritical of foreign governments and even Chinese officials.
Foreign SecretaryAlbert del Rosario urged Beijing to concur with Manila’s proposal to resolvethe territorial disputes between the two countries in accordance with theUnclos.
《环球时报》是CCP的喉舌《人民日报》的子刊。它以经常发表尖锐批评外国 Zheng Fu 甚至中国官员的民族主义社论闻名。
‘They’re lying,’ships still there
In Camp Aquino inTarlac City, the head of the military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) accusedChina of lying when it claimed it had withdrawn most of its vessels at PanatagShoal.
“We are tellingthem they’re not telling the truth,” Nolcom commander Lt. Gen. AnthonyAlcantara told visiting defense reporters.
In a pressbriefing, Alcantara said at least seven Chinese vessels remained in thevicinity of Panatag, including two small fishing boats anchored on the lagoonand three other fishing vessels off a sandbar.
Alcantara said twoChinese maritime ships—the gunboat FLEC 310 and the surveillanceship CMS 71—had been sighted in the Panatag waters as of 8 p.m. Monday.
Two moresurveillance ships, the CMS 84 and 75, are believed to be replenishingprovisions and refueling somewhere in the Chinese mainland, he added.
The presence ofthe ships, according to Alcantara, belied a statement from the Chinese embassythat only one Chinese surveillance ship remained in the area, and thatthe two others had been recalled.
Chinese embassyspokesperson Zhang Hua said only one Chinese surveillance ship remained atPanatag for “law enforcement missions.”
“The withdrawal ofthe two ships proves once again China is not escalating the situation as somepeople said, but de-escalating the situation,” Zhang said.
On the Philippineside, a Coast Guard ship, the BRP Pampanga, and a Bureau of Fisheries andAquatic Resources ship, the MCS 3006, are in the Panatag waters to stand guard,Alcantara said.
Last night, theDFA said that “contrary to the Chinese embassy’s claim, two of their vessels—themaritime surveillance ships CMS 71 and FLEC 310—are still in the area, alongwith five Chinese fishing vessels.” The information came from the Coast Guard,it said.
War of netizens
In Manila, thescience and technology department’s Information and Communications TechnologyOffice (ICTO) has warned Filipino techies against defacing Chinese websites. Itsaid trading barbs online would not help in the government’s efforts to easetensions with China.
Philippinewebsites have been defaced by Chinese nationals, and vice versa, as netizenstook the quarrel between both countries online.
“The recentalleged defacement of foreign websites by local hacker groups is not condonednor encouraged by the Philippine government,” ICTO executive director LouisCasambre said.
在马尼拉，菲律宾科技部信息和通信技术办公室警示菲律宾技术人员不要攻击中方网站，它同时表示网络战争无助于解决 Zheng Fu 缓和与中国之间紧张局势所做的努力。
信息和通信技术办公室主任路易斯表示：“最近发生的攻击国外网站的行为，菲律宾 Zheng Fu 不鼓励也不允许”。
We Filipinosshould not be afraid of China. The Philippines is a Christian country whileChina now is controlled by godless communist. Just like in the Bible, Godfearing David has defeated the godless Goliath so will the God fearingPhilippines will defeat godless communist China.
God bless the Philippines. Oh Lord God we beseech you tocome to our aid in case this godless nation inflict pain on our spirit, help usdefend ourselves against this invaders who knows nothing of respect for thelaw. In all this we pray in Jesus mighty name...Amen