FULL TEXT: Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian's Remarks at the 8th Manila Forum

FULL TEXT: Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian's Remarks at the 8th Manila Forum
File photo: Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian.
Photo Release

Honorable APCU Chairman Atty. Raul Lambino, 1st Vice Chairman Mr. Jeffrey Ng, President Sixto “Noy” Benedicto, and other APCU officers,

Dear Keynote Speakers Dr. Clarita Carlos, Dr. Wu Shicun and Dr. Eduardo Araral,

Dear Panelists Amb. Rigoberto Tiglao, Dr. Yan Yan and Major General (Ret) Romeo V Poquiz,

Dear media friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

It gives great pleasure to join you at the 8th Manila Forum for China-Philippines Relations. With rising uncertainty and destabilizing factors in our region, it is high time that this Forum was convened and panelists shared their insights on how differences should be managed and work be done to uphold peace and stability in our part of the world.

Indeed, there are differences between China and the Philippines on the South China Sea issue. However, as neighbors across a narrow strip of water, relations between China and the Philippines are more defined by peaceful coexistence for over a thousand years and will continue to be so in the future. Friendship is always the main stream of our bilateral relations.

During the 7th meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea held last month in Manila, our two countries discussed ways to handle maritime differences. The Chinese side has put forth several new initiatives, including establishing a common fishing zone, to enhance our practical cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples.

We each have our respective claims and positions regarding the South China Sea. Differences thereof should be resolved by parties directly involved through dialogues and with mutual respect. That is why China is committed to strengthening dialogue mechanisms between us. Provocative actions or bringing in external forces will not help but further complicate the situation and cause more problems, putting regional peace and security at risk. We should learn from history and avoid repeating mistakes. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Peace across the Taiwan Strait is under threat and faces severe challenges. The root cause of the tensions across the Taiwan Strait is the “Taiwan independence” forces colluding with the US. The US has obdurately attempted to contain China by exploiting the Taiwan question and breaking its commitments of maintaining only unofficial relations with Taiwan. It has been crossing the line and acting provocatively on issues such as US-Taiwan official exchanges, arms sales to and military dealings with Taiwan and creating chances for Taiwan to expand its so-called “international space”, and kept fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle. 

The one-China principle is the basis on which China has established and developed diplomatic relations with 182 countries, including the Philippines. China commends the Philippines’ adhering to the one-China principle. The Taiwan question is entirely China’s internal affair, as is the Mindanao issue to the Philippines. You will never allow any third party to meddle with resolving rebel issues in Mindanao. Likewise, it should not be hard to understand why the announcement of the four additional EDCA sites has caused widespread and grave concern among Chinese people.

Facts speak louder than words. Obviously, the US intends to take advantage of the new EDCA sites to interfere in the situation across the Taiwan Strait to serve its geopolitical goals, and advance its anti-China agenda at the expense of peace and development of the Philippines and the region at large. Many Filipino politicians and ordinary Filipino people are questioning whether opening new bases will serve the national interests of the Philippines. “Why are the new EDCA sites only a stone’s throw away from Taiwan?” “How will the Philippines effectively control the prepositioned weapons in the military bases?” “Why will the Philippines fight for another country through the new EDCA sites?” These are soul-searching questions of the Philippine people and also doubt by people in China and across the region.

Some tried to find excuse for the new EDCA sites by citing the safety of the 150,000 OFWs in Taiwan, while China is the last country that wishes to see conflict over the Strait because people on both sides are Chinese. But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities. 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 OFWs. 

To know if increased US military deployment in another country truly helps to protect the host country’s sovereignty and security, one just need to take a look at the long list of mess left behind by the scourge of American military around the world, the turmoils, divisions and devastation. Answers will not be difficult to find. To have strategic independence or to be at the mercy of others? French President Macron proffered an answer: Being an ally does not mean being a vassal.

In conclusion, I look forward to in-depth discussions and insights on issues regarding the South China Sea and regional peace and security. I wish this Forum a complete success.

Thank you and Mabuhay!

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