MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano believes the US think tank who claimed China has resumed its construction of facilities and structures on the widely-disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea is not giving the whole picture of what’s been happening in the area.
Last month, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published on its website some satellite imagery of the latest improvement on at least 3 islands in the WPS – the Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Cayetano cast doubts in CSIS’ interests in publishing the photos.
“Sometimes they go into Philippine interest, sometimes hindi [not]. What I’ve noticed about CSIS is that they don’t give you all the pictures,” Cayetano said.
The Foreign Affairs secretary also said China should not be blamed alone since other countries are doing the same thing.
“Because if they show that, everyone will be protesting against each other. Because it’s not only China who’s building,” he said.
Also, the official assured China is not a threat to the Philippines despite President Rodrigo Duterte himself admitting its missiles are trained on its once most-vocal rival.
“The Chinese is not a military threat to us although we still keep our alliance with the United States and we respect that alliance but it doesn’t mean that we have the same enemies,” Cayetano asserted.
He added one has to look at the context of how the President speaks on the issue.
“China has repeatedly assured us that it (missile) is for defense. They are not a threat to us, they are not threatening us,” he added.
On the other hand, Cayetano assured the Filipinos that the DFA is doing everything in its power to protect the Philippines’ claim to the West Philippine Sea, including diplomatic actions.