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‘China should respect int’l law on sea dispute’

Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - July 5, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Outgoing Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista is hopeful that China will eventually heed calls by the international community for it to refrain from using military might in pursuing its maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea.

Under Bautista’s term, the decade-long tension in the sea mounted due to China’s aggressiveness in enforcing its own maritime claims, which include portions of the coastal waters of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

“The international community had spoken that what Beijing is doing is wrong. I am looking forward that China will eventually respect the international legal processes to resolve the maritime conflict peacefully,” Bautista said yesterday.

He was referring to the security situation in the Paracel Island Group as well as in the hotly-contested Spratlys archipelago due to China’s aggressive bullying of Vietnamese and Philippine civilian ships and fishing boats.

In the Paracels, tension further increased when China positioned its oil rigs within Vietnam’s 200-exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that is now under Beijing’s de facto control following a one-sided bloody naval confrontation between the Chinese and Vietnamese navies in the region in 1974.

Last month, a Chinese vessel rammed a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the region.

Tension is also brewing in the West Philippine Sea due to China’s sustained activities in the area, including reclamation projects.

But even as he was hoping for the best, Bautista said the military is also bracing for the worst.

He said the Armed Forces is prepared to deal with any security concerns that might arise in the future within the country’s regime of islands.

He added that government troops deployed in the hotly-contested region will remain in the area to perform their mandate.

The AFP is also closely monitoring developments in the region through regular air and maritime territorial patrol being conducted by the Palawan-based Western Command.

 

ARMED FORCES BAUTISTA BEIJING CHINESE AND VIETNAMESE EMMANUEL BAUTISTA IN THE PARACELS MALAYSIA AND BRUNEI OUTGOING ARMED FORCES PARACEL ISLAND GROUP WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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