MANILA, Philippines – For Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the issue over the contested Scarborough Shoal is beyond a simple conflict of territorial ownership between the Philippines and China.
“The real objective of China is not to claim Scarborough as part of its territory. The real goal of China is to beat all other nations, particularly in the South East Asia, in exploiting the natural resources of the seas,” Defensor-Santiago shared during an interview over radio DZBB on Sunday, April 29.
Defensor-Santiago claimed that China is only after the the natural resources it could get from the disputed area, which is rich in water resources, and is said to be potentially rich in oil and gas resources.
“China wants us to agree to peace negotiations, but they’re already exploiting the area behind our back…That’s why if we’re planning to make use of the area and get resources, China has already taken all of them,” she said.
And, based on the senator’s observations, China is already getting what they want from the area. She cited how the China refuses to call-off its ships in the area.
“In their own discreet ways, China is already getting fish and minerals from the area,” she said.
Don’t rely on U.S.
The senator also explained that the Philippines should not rely on the support of its ally, the United States of America. After all, she explained, China and the US are both developed countries, hence tend to think alike.
“The attitude of developed countries is that they don’t want developing countries to limit their resources to themselves,” she said.
She added that the US is financially dependent on China, which is a key buyer of debt instruments that the US has issued to plug its budget deficit.
She said she does not expect America to confront China over the matter. “That’s not how international relation works,” she stressed.
The Philippine government has already mentioned that it is prepared to defend its rights over the disputed area, even without soliciting help from US. – Rappler.com