US urged to take firmer stand on China
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - September 3, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine and US-based Filipino groups are calling on the US government to take a firmer stand against China’s continuous bullying in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea meant to bolster its encompassing maritime and territorial claims.

The group MARCHA (Movement and Alliances to Resist China’s Aggression) and the US-Pilipino for Good Governance (US4PPG) are organizing a select group of Filipinos to travel to the US to engage and update key personalities in Capitol Hill as well as strategic study groups about China’s current activities in the disputed region.

“The US (government) must realize that it is also in their best interest to take a firmer response to China’s bullying,” MARCHA chair and former national security adviser and Parañaque congressman Roilo Golez said.

Latest territorial monitoring over the region showed China has shifted to construction in the seven man-made islands out of the formerly obscure maritime features located within the country’s regime of islands in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

More worrisome is China’s building of air force and naval bases at the reclaimed Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, Zamora (Subi) Reef and Mabini (Johnson South) Reef that Golez said once operational could change the security landscape in the region.

Beijing earlier declared it has halted all its reclamation activities in the region, a pronouncement described by senior officials as a ploy to lessen mounting international criticism against its unilateral and aggressive actions.

“They have completed their reclamation activities and are now shifting to building air and naval bases on their man-made islands,” the security official said.

MARCHA and USP4GG chaired by US-based Filipina philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis, according to Golez, would be supporting a lobby group for a sustained campaign in convincing the US political leadership to back the Philippines and other claimant countries in the Spratlys.

ACIRC CAPITOL HILL CHINA FIERY CROSS GOLEZ GOOD GOVERNANCE JOHNSON SOUTH KALAYAAN ISLAND GROUP MOVEMENT AND ALLIANCES REEF AND MABINI
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