By Bernadette E Tamayo /Manila Times
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said China’s policy in the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea or WPS) should compel the Philippine government to invest more on military modernisation.
He made the remark after Sen. Panfilo Lacson called his attention to an article published in a Chinese newspaper in 2013 which elaborated China’s “cabbage strategy” in seizing Huangyan Island or Panatag Shoal from the Philippines.
In the article, a Chinese military expert boasted of the so-called cabbage strategy to recover Huangyan Islands, which he said was “illegally occupied” by the Philippines.
Huangyan Island is known as Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal, which the Philippines claims to be part of its territorial waters. “It is a free world now after the United States’ CIA Central Intelligence Agency defeated the United Socialist Soviet Region (USSR, now Russia). Every country can speak whatever is on its mind. What it says should not determine foreign policy but it should inform the national budgetary process that we gotta stop throwing money at poverty and throw it at weaponry,” Locsin said.
Lacson agreed with Locsin’s view that the Philippine military must be modernised. “Agree, except that what they said a few years ago is exactly how they are conducting manoeuvres in WPS. I’m no expert in foreign policy but I feel it is my duty to inform and help,” he said.
Asked by Manila Times to further elaborate on his tweet, Lacson, in a text message, said, “As every Filipino who has information, old and current about the conditions obtaining in the WPS particularly those pertaining to our islands that are under threat from Chinese intrusion or invasion, I believe I must share the same to all Filipinos who care to know.”
“That is the reason why instead of officially bringing it to the attention of SFA (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) Locsin, I used Twitter for maximum dissemination because other like-minded netizens who have similar information can think, shape or influence our country’s foreign policy,” he added.
“After all, it is our sovereignty and territorial integrity that are at stake. We should not hesitate as it is our solemn duty to report whatever information we have,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Zhang Zhaozhong said in recovering the Huangyan Island from Philippine control, China resorted to “cabbage strategy.”
The China Daily published an English version of the interview.
“We have begun to take measures to seal and control the areas around the Huangyan Island, seal and control continuously up till now. Over a year period since then, there have been fishermen in the inside. Our fishermen are often there because there is lot of fish there. Fishermen go there in large ships and then sail small boats in the lagoon to fish. They can have shelter in the lagoon when there is a typhoon,” he said.
“The fishermen conduct normal production there. In the area around the island, fishing administration ships and marine surveillance ships are conducting normal patrols while in the outer ring there are navy warships. The island is thus wrapped layer by layer like a cabbage. As a result, a cabbage strategy has taken shape,” Zhang added.
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