Speak with one voice on China, Aquino urges Pinoys

President Aquino says China should respect the Philippines' rights

MANILA, Philippines – Saying his government has bent over backwards in its dispute with China over the South China Sea, President Benigno Aquino III asked that Beijing “respect” the rights of the Philippines.

In his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 23, the President also urged Filipinos to “speak with one voice” so that he could relay “to logic of our stand” to China.

“This is not a simple situation, and there can be no simple solutions,” the President said. “Rest assured: we are consulting experts, every leader of our nation, our allies—even those on the other side—to find a resolution that is acceptable to all.”

He recalled that it was Manila that withdrew its warship from Scarborough Shoal as a “sign of our goodwill.” The President added: “We chose not to respond to their media’s harangues. I do not think it excessive to ask that our rights be respected, just as we respect their rights as a fellow nation in a world we need to share.”

The standoff between the Philippines and China in the Scarborough Shoal is almost on its 4th month. Just recently, Chinese vessels were also spotted in territories claimed by the Philippines in the Spratlys.

The President said his government “demonstrated utmost forbearance in dealing with this issue.”

The South China Sea dispute proved to be a thorny issue in the last foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). As a result, the unprecedented happened – the Asean ministers failed to come up with a joint communiqué. – Rappler.com

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