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Commentary: By stirring up South China Sea, Manila only complicates the matter
2015/07/20

BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Among all claimants of the South China Sea, the Philippines marks a stark contrast with most of the rest by constantly resorting to unilateral moves that have threatened to damage the prospect of a widely-aspired peaceful solution.

The tricks used by Manila over the past few months regarding South China Sea include baselessly accusing China of "bullying" in the area, shamefully disseminating such unwarranted claims at various global forums, and tirelessly courting external powers for patronage.

As a result of such courtship, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Scott Swift flew a "seven-hour maritime surveillance mission" over the South China Sea on Saturday aboard a P-8A Poseidon aircraft as part of his recent visit to the Philippines.

Such unconstructive moves, also epitomized by Manila's stubborn arbitration request, run against the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and threaten previous gains toward a peaceful solution.

It is worth noting that Manila's arbitration request over South China Sea does not hold water since the essence of the subject-matter of the case is the territorial sovereignty over several maritime features in the South China Sea, which is beyond the scope of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea under which Manila initiated the arbitration.

China has also make it clear it will not accept or get involved in these proceedings initiated unilaterally by the Philippines.

By disregarding China's opposition and taking the case to a international tribunal, Manila's publicity stunt inflicts heavy toll on mutual trust between Manila and Beijing, which has already become very scarce after a raft of provocations by Manila regarding South China Sea.

China has long exercised restraint in the face of various provocations by the Philippine side and insists that the South China Sea disputes be resolved through bilateral talks between rival claimants, and such practice is widely used in resolving territory disputes.

Manila should waste no time to halt all provocations over the issue since it may surprisingly find itself engulfed by a fire started by itself, with no rescuers to come, even those that have encouraged Manila to become a more aggressive player in the region.

Decision-makers in Manila must have known Washington and Tokyo may be generous in offering favorable political postures or even handing out military aid, they are not likely to sacrifice their ties with Beijing for the sake of the Philippines.

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