Philippines Rejects US-Japan-Australia Demands, Backs China

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Aug. 9, 2017 (EIRNS)–The Foreign Minister of the US, Japan, and Australia met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) events, issuing a statement which, in part, said: “We call on China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal’s 2016 Award in the Philippines-China arbitration, as it is final and legally binding.” This is nonsense, of course, since China did not even participate in the “arbitration,” but the court ruled anyway, and it is in no way enforceable. More important, even the Philipines under the Duterte government wants nothing to do with it.

Asked about this statement, Philippines Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Tuesday: “We are a sovereign nation. We will decide what is good for us and what strategy is good for us.” He said there is a need to maintain stability in the region by focusing on positive development, adding that there is now relative peace in the South China Sea. “We are not pro-China, pro-US, pro-Japan, or pro-whatever. We are pro-Philippines and more pro-ASEAN,” Cayetano said, “We will appreciate not being told what to do.”

He went on to praise China for playing “a very positive role in the region.” He said China’s strong economy has fueled growth in the ASEAN region. “Definitely China will be a better driver for a socio-economic development in the region,” Cayetano said. “I can honestly say that the relationship of ASEAN and China has improved and been strengthened over this ministerial meetings.”

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