Huanqiu reported that Alan Peter Cayetano, the Philippine’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, held a press conference on August 8, after the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Conference. His comments on the South China Sea issue astonished the media.
According to Huanqiu, “Cayetano said that China has played an ‘active role’ in the ASEAN region. China’s rapid economic growth has benefitted all ASEAN countries. The Philippines ‘is proud’ of the current Sino-Philippine relationship.”
A news reporter asked if the Philippines wanted to add tough words towards China in the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ joint statement on the South China Sea.
Cayetano stated that he didn’t want to add them. “I drafted the statement. (Adding tough words against China) does not reflect the current situation.”
The reporter followed up with asking why he did not want to add those words.
Cayetano cut the question off, asking, “Are you saying that we should embarrass China and then the Philippines should start a confrontation with China?” “Or should we let the South China Sea keep peace and stability and to pass the ‘South China Sea Code of Conduct successfully? … What is your goal?”
A CNN Philippines reporter asked why Philippine didn’t mention the “South China Sea Arbitration’ in the joint statement. Cayetano answered blankly, “Because it has no purpose in the development of Sino-Philippine relations.” “Do you want us to maintain the tough position and thus maintain the tension in the South China Sea, or get the current result via diplomatic channels?” “You tell me, which way better protects Filipinos’ interests and better protects the Philippine’s fishermen?”
“You asked me why I didn’t mention the South China Sea arbitrage.”
“My answer is that it is in the Philippine’s state interest.”
“What we need to do is to establish trust with China via friendly channels. That is in our state interest.”
Source: Huanqiu, August 10, 2017