Chinese Embassy downplays claims of militia in fishing vessels
Chinese Embassy says there’s no Chinese militia in the fishing vessels
MANILA – The Chinese Embassy in Manila today said there are no members of the Chinese militia among the 220 Chinese fishing vessels which reported encroached in Julian Felipe reef, also known as Union Reef.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Chinese Embassy said the boats were at Niu’e Jiao which is part of China’s Nansha Qundao.
“Chinese fishing vessels have been fishing in its adjacent waters for many years. Recently, some Chinese fishing vessels take shelter near Niu’e Jiao due to rough sea conditions,” the statement revealed.
It added it has been a normal practice for Chinese fishing vessels to take shelter under such circumstances but insisted there is no Chinese Maritime Militia as alleged by the Philippines.
“Any speculation in such helps nothing but causes unnecessary irritation,” the said.
The Embassy statement concluded by saying they look forward to solving the situation in “an objective and rational manner.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Chester B. Cabalza said the Chinese government has a different strategy these days. He explained this is brought about by Chinese desire to assert its presence in the South China Sea because of the sea lane’s importance to their petroleum requirements among others.
Interviewed over COFFEE CHAT Monday afternoon, Dr. Cabalza said China has become both an economic and military power in this part of the world.
“He who has control over the South China Sea would control the region which the United States would not allow as it revitalized its partnership with Japan, Australia and India through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue popularly known as QUAD,” he added.
The Philippines, he explained, has become the guinea pig in the race between China and the United States. This is because of the Philippines’ strategic importance to both “giants.”
Cabalza, a graduate of Military Diplomacy at the PLA National Defense University in Beijing and National Security and Policymaking from the University of Delaware, said Filipino leaders should take a serious look at the country’s government programs to enhance the modernization of the armed forces.
He said the Philippines’ dependence of American support has left the country behind its neighbors, notably Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia which do not have treaty allies.
It will be recalled Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana called on the China not to encroach on the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and its continental shelf. (Melo M. Acuña)
Dr. Chester B. Cabalza. (Screen grab from COFFEE CHAT/Melo M. Acuna)