^

Headlines

‘China should respect Philippines sovereign prerogative with US’

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
�China should respect Philippines sovereign prerogative with US�
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile said Beijing must not question President Marcos for allowing American troops to access four more military bases in the country under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the two countries.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — China should respect the Philippines’ sovereign prerogative to strengthen its defense cooperation with the United States, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile said yesterday.

Enrile said Beijing must not question President Marcos for allowing American troops to access four more military bases in the country under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the two countries.

“EDCA is the result of our historic relationship with the United States and our Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States of America. We are bound to respect our own treaty like China respects its own treaty with Russia. They should understand that,” Enrile said in his television program.

“We are not going to be aggressive against China. It is simply a product of our long association, political association, in fact colonization by the US and we have to respect that and they have to respect that,” he said.

Enrile clarified that the Philippines does not consider China an enemy, but a friend and trading partner.

“We have an economic relationship. Geographically, we are here beside them, we have to deal with them, we have to maintain a cordial relationship with them but I hope they (China) will not interfere with our internal affairs and our sovereign prerogatives to defend ourselves,” he stressed.

The former Senate president noted that the Philippines has no capability to defend itself from attackers and has “to depend on the strength and the military power of America.”

“We cannot match the power of China. But we are not against China, we are a friend of China. But they have to understand that we have to protect ourselves against anyone, not just China but against Malaysia, against Singapore, against Indonesia, against Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei and so forth and so on,” he said.

In an interview in Bataan last April 10, Marcos assured the public that the military bases accessible to the US – to include the new EDCA sites at the Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta. Ana, Cagayan; Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan; Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela and Balabac Island in Palawan – would not be used in any offensive action.

“China’s reaction was not surprising,” Marcos said. “We will not allow our bases to be used for any offensive actions. This is only aimed at helping the Philippines whenever we need help.”

“If no one is attacking us, they need not worry because we will not fight them,” the President said.

China’s foreign ministry had said the additional EDCA sites in the Philippines would only lead to more tension in the region.
Last Friday, Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said the safety and welfare of tens of thousands of Filipinos working in Taiwan might be jeopardized if Manila does not oppose the independence of the island nation, which is being claimed by Beijing as its renegade province.

“The Philippines is advised to unequivocally oppose ‘Taiwan independence’ rather than stoking the fire by offering the US access to the military bases near the Taiwan Strait if you care genuinely about the 150,000 (overseas Filipino workers),” Huang said.

Enrile said if Taiwan itself declares independence, America is not bound to come to its defense.

“But if China attacks Taiwan for no reason, without declaring independence, America will be there to defend the freedom and independence of Taiwan. That’s the situation I know,” he said partly in Filipino.

In a statement, the US embassy said EDCA is a key component of the US-Philippine alliance to ensure preparedness for future crises and is not about any other third country.

“We have said repeatedly: EDCA sites will support combined training exercises and interoperability between US and Philippine forces to ensure that we’re even better prepared for future crises. EDCA is a key component of the US-Philippine alliance and is not about any other third country,” it read. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

vuukle comment

JUAN PONCE ENRILE

Philstar
x
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Latest
abtest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with