He said it was a vision of Singapore foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, “which I share with as much optimism.” Balakrishnan earlier said a resolution of the South China Sea dispute would not be easy, even as talks for a code of conduct are under way.
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All conflicting claims in SCS won’t be resolved — Locsin
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There is no end in sight to the South China Sea dispute as the people’s “attachments” to their ideas are “too strong” to weaken with time, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Wednesday.

“All the conflicting claims in the South China Sea will not be resolved,” Locsin said in a speech at the celebration of the 54th National Day of Singapore.

He said it was a vision of Singapore foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, “which I share with as much optimism.” Balakrishnan earlier said a resolution of the South China Sea dispute would not be easy, even as talks for a code of conduct are under way.

“The attachments of each people to their ideas of what they are entitled to are too strong and will not weaken with time, I said. And yet, said Vivian, nothing will stand in the way of limitless progress, prosperity and, I dare say, peace for our region,” Locsin said.

In his speech, Locsin called Singapore a “paragon” of flawless modernity, innovation and efficiency.

Contemporary Singapore, he said, represents the very vision and aspiration of many nations built on honest, super-intelligent, determined and visionary leadership as well the discipline of its multiethnic population.

“Singapore harnessed its strengths which were weaknesses elsewhere: the wide diversity of its people; the poverty and deprivation of their origin in Malay tin mining for the most part; and the animosity of near neighbors,” Locsin said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, filed a resolution calling on the Senate to probe the possible maritime and security implications of a reported government plan to allow Chinese “investors” to develop three islands into tourism destinations.

Hontiveros said the proposed Senate Resolution No. 74 seeks to investigate the strategic security implications of the developments by foreigners of Fuga, Grande and Chiquita islands, as well as the property formerly known as island Cove Resort.

She said Fuga in Cagayan province and the Grande and Chiquita islands in Subic Bay, Zambales province play strategic roles in the country’s national security. “Are we witnessing a creeping annexation?” Hontiveros asked.

“Amid China’s aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea, it is baffling that the Duterte government allowed this to happen. These are no ordinary islands. These parcels of land are strategic maritime fronts that play a significant role in our military history, which only proves how invaluable they are to our national security,” she explained.

Hontiveros also brought up the development of the 32-hectare Island Cove Resort property in Kawit, Cavite, purchased by a still-unknown investor and converted into a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) complex with housing facilities for an estimated 20,000 foreign workers.

Island Cove is approximately 3.5 kilometers from Danilo Atienza Air Base, home of the Philippine Air Force’s 15th Strike Wing, and Naval Base Heracleo Alano, home of the Naval Sea System Command, which operates the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s largest industrial complex – a military shipyard providing repair and maintenance for all Navy ships and aircraft.

It was reported that the country’s unregulated POGO industry led to an influx of illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines.

Hontiveros said the country’s national security is apparently under threat due to questionable Chinese infrastructure investments.

“We look to the Senate to rise to the occasion and to seek the truth. We hope that the investigation is conducted through the lens of Filipino values that uphold our integrity, sovereignty and dignity,” Hontiveros said.  – With Ghio Ong, Robertzon Ramirez, Cecille Suerte Felipe

SOUTH CHINA SEA TEODORO LOCSIN JR.
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