Alunan says China’s territorial claim fiction
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - July 12, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former interior secretary Rafael Alunan III yesterday dismissed as “fiction” and a “fairy tale” China’s expansive territorial claim in the South China Sea.

Alunan said the law is on the side of the Philippines, which has been vocal in criticizing China’s aggressive actions in the region.

“We can engage China immediately in legal, diplomatic and information arenas because we hold a moral high ground. We have a law on our side. We have history on our side,” Alunan told reporters on the sidelines of the Armed Forces Social Media Summit at Camp Aguinaldo.

“There’s nothing China is holding on to except the fiction that they own the South China Sea and nobody believes them,” he said.

China claims about 90 percent of the potentially oil- and gas-rich South China Sea through the so-called 10-dash line.

China’s wide-reaching territorial claim overlaps with that of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

The Philippines has filed a case against China’s “exaggerated” claim before the international arbitral tribunal but Beijing refused to respond to it or participate in the process.

“Their claim of the South China Sea is very fallacious, there is no factual basis for it. I call it a fairytale,” Alunan said.

A co-convenor of the West Philippine Sea Coalition, Alunan said several countries have been concerned and even upset by what he described as China’s “imperialistic” behavior.

“I attended recently the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore which is an annual conference of national security experts, and we came away concerned and disappointed with the behavior of China,” he said.

“Instead of using that forum to engage in preventive diplomacy, they were arrogant and were talking down to all the countries,” he added.

Alunan said the Philippines could win the case in the arbitral tribunal by default, noting that China has refused to participate in the proceedings.

He said social networking sites can be used to mobilize Filipinos and to inspire patriotism.

He noted that the West Philippine Sea Coalition has used Facebook to organize rallies and conferences about territorial issues.

“All we can do in social media is to just keep on dishing out the truth, whatever legal issues surrounding the claim of China can be countered by us and we’ve done so,” Alunan said.

 

ALUNAN ARMED FORCES SOCIAL MEDIA SUMMIT BEIJING BRUNEI AND TAIWAN CAMP AGUINALDO CHINA RAFAEL ALUNAN SHANGRI-LA DIALOGUE SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA COALITION
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