The Chinese Embassy said Sunday that the United States dragging the Philippines into its issues with China by establishing additional military sites in the country may “seriously harm” the Philippines’ national interests as well as regional peace and stability.
In a GMA Integrated News interview, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said she did not believe that Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites would serve as a “magnet” for Chinese “aggressive behavior.”
She also said that these sites would help keep people safe.
In response, the Chinese Embassy countered that the US was only using the EDCA with the Philippines for its geopolitical interests and to contain China.
“Peace and development remain the theme of this era and the call of peoples around the world. However, the US, to secure its hegemony and selfish geopolitical interests and out of the cold-war mentality, keeps upgrading military cooperation with the Philippines by adding EDCA bases and military deployment in this country,” the Embassy said.
“Whereas the US claims that such cooperation is intended to help the disaster relief efforts of the Philippines and some Americans even tout the EDCA sites as a driver of the local economy, it is plain and simple that those moves are part of the US efforts to encircle and contain China through its military alliance with this country.”
In February, the Department of National Defense (DND) announced a deal to give US troops access to four more bases in strategic areas of the country to allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in Manila and to respond to other shared challenges.
“To bundle the Philippines into the chariots of geopolitical strife will seriously harm Philippine national interests and endanger regional peace and stability,” the Chinese Embassy said. It also disputed Carlson’s remark that joint US-Philippine patrols in the South China Sea would be “one important component of making sure that waterways are free and open.”
The Chinese diplomats countered that the patrols would heighten tension and disturb the efforts of countries to keep the peace and stability in the South China Sea.
“On the South China Sea issue, there is no problem with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. When talking about free and open waterways, what the US has in its mind is actually the freedom of rampage of its warships in the South China Sea,” said the embassy.
“The US military has been coming all the way from the other side of the Pacific to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and ganging up with its allies from other parts of the world to flex muscle in the South China Sea.”
The embassy added that by doing these, the US not only heightened tensions and drove a wedge between China and the Philippines, but also disturbed and upset the joint effort of countries in the region to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier stressed that developing the Philippines’ defense capabilities through efforts such as the EDCA with the US aims to build deterrence and not for engaging in war.
GMA News Online had sought comment from the Palace and the National Defense Department on the Chinese Embassy’s statements, but neither Malacañang nor the DND had responded as of posting time.