From CNN Philippines (Sep 30): China 'brazenly lying' about activities in West PH Sea - Golez
Brazen lies. This was how a former lawmaker described on Wednesday (September 30) Beijing's pronouncements about disputed waters — based on Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent speech at the White House.
Roilo Golez, who also served as national security adviser during the Arroyo administration, said China was "brazenly lying" about its activities on contested outcrops in the West Philippine Sea.
This developed after Xi, during his first state visit to the United States, told President Barack Obama that China was entitled to build structures on disputed atolls in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea but did not intend to militarize them.
"Islands in the South China Sea since ancient times are China's territory. We have the right to uphold our own territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests," Xi said.
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But Golez said this was far from the truth. He cited satellite images that showed apparent militarization on contested islands.
Two weeks before this, the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said based on satellite images it analyzed, China seemed to be building a third airstrip on Mischief Reef.
Greg Poling, the director of CSIS's Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, said the structure was similar to airstrips that China had been building on artificial islands at the Fiery Cross and Subi reef in the contested Spratly Islands.
"If it does turn out to be a runway, China will have three airstrips that can carry any plane the PLA (People's Liberation Army) has to offer," Poling said.
The images, taken on September 8, come after China pledged to bring land reclamation in those waters to a halt.
In May, a U.S. surveillance plane carrying a CNN crew was warned eight times by the Chinese navy after it flew over Chinese installations in the area.
Meanwhile, Golez also expressed concern about the United States' diplomatic approach towards China's claims in the West PH Sea.
He said the U.S. Should take a firmer stand instead and increase its military presence in the area by conducting naval patrols.
Golez, who belonged to MARCHA (Movement and Alliance to Resist China's Aggression, added that underestimating China will only lead to full militarization of the disputed territories — leaving no other choice but war.
He said the issue would be raised during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila come November.
"He will be disappointed," Belmonte said as quoted by ABS-CBN.
For his part, Belmonte merely wants the bill put to a vote. He said he will not campaign for its passage.
"I'm not talking about approval. I just want it to reach the floor and voted on," he said.
He revealed many lawmakers are still interested in asking questions. "We have still a number of people who are due to interpellate. Many of them have interpellated more than once in the past," he said.
"Appeal ko lang, let's give everybody a chance to vote. Pakiusap ko, let's go there. I'm not gonna talk to say you vote this way. Let everybody vote the way everybody wants," he added.
Both Houses of Congress are currently focused on the proposed P3-trillion national budget for 2016 setting aside the proposed Bangsamoro law.
ABS-CN also quoted Belmonte saying that after the budget is approved, they will allot time for the BBL as well as other legislative priorities. Among these are the Customs Modernization Law as well as the creation of a coco levy trust fund.
that President Benigno Aquino will be disappointed once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not approved by congress, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said.
Congress is now busy with deliberations on the proposed P3-trillion national budget for 2016.
In two weeks, Congress will go on break for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the 2016 elections.
Belmonte said that after the budget is approved, they will allot time for the BBL as well as other legislative priorities. Among these are the Customs Modernization Law as well as the creation of a coco levy trust fund.