MARIVELES, PHILIPPINES - MAY 18: Filipino fishermen prepare their boat to sail to the West Philippine Sea despite harassment by Chinese militia and coast guard in the disputed waters on May 18, 2021 in Mariveles, Bataan, west of Luzon in the Philippines. Local fishermen bewail the Philippines lackluster stance on its claim of the West Philippine Sea waters against China's incursion, and are continuing to fish as long as they legally can. Fishermen also expressed disappointed at a recent remark by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, that retaking of West Philippine Sea was never his campaign promise. Prior to Duterte's presidency, the Philippines won a landmark arbitral case against China in 2016, which invalidated the the latter's claims in the South China Sea including islands and shoals within the country's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. (Photo by Jes Aznar/Getty Images)

WPS situation ‘solvable,’ face-to-face diplomacy will defuse current situation

Senator-elect Alan Peter Cayetano on Saturday said the West Philippine Sea dispute between the Philippines and China is “solvable,” with the first step being a face-to-face diplomacy to defuse the increasingly heated situation in the sea.

“The problem is solvable but we have to be committed to it,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters on June 11, 2022.

Last April 4, more than 100 Chinese ships were spotted back in waters in and around Julian Felipe (Whistun) Reef in the West Philippine Sea, almost a year after over 200 such vessels were seen in the same area.

The Department of Foreign Affairs published a statement on June 9, 2022 after filing a formal complaint against China.

“The lingering unauthorized presence of Chinese fishing and maritime vessels is not only illegal, but is also a source of instability in the region,” the Department said.

Cayetano, who served as Foreign Affairs Secretary from 2017 to 2018, said there is always a peaceful way to resolve such issues.

“I’m a believer sa diplomacy. Ako’y naniniwala hindi dahas, hindi war, at hindi rin po force ang magso-solve ng problema natin sa West Philippine Sea kundi diplomacy,” he said.

Embed from Getty Images

The Senator-elect encouraged the incoming administration to defuse the situation by carrying out face-to-face diplomacy with President Xi Jinping right away.

“Ang personal recommendation ko is as soon as possible magkaroon ng one-on-one meeting ang President-elect Marcos at saka si President Xi Jin Ping,” Cayetano said.

“It’s not a one-dimensional problem. But kung president to president ang mag-uusap especially during this time, I don’t think totally masosolve ang problema pero tingin ko made-defuse y’ung situation and magkakaroon tayo ng framework how to proceed from here,” he continued.

Cayetano said diplomacy works better than “megaphone or microphone diplomacy” where public statements are issued instead of actual conversations behind closed doors.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *