China plays victim again, accuses PH and Japan of bullying in sea row

Photo Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea, China accused the Philippines of stirring up trouble with the help of Japan in the disputed areas, ABS-CBN reported.

At the 48th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers Meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi belied the claims by the Philippines about China’s artificial islands causing a conflict in the future.

“First off, the situation in the [West Philippine] Sea is generally stable, and there is no possibility of a major clash,” he said.

“China opposes any non-constructive words and acts which widen division, exaggerate antagonism or create tensions,” he added, referring to the Philippines’ constant call-outs on China’s reclamation activities.

Restrained Victims

Elaborating further, Wang accused Manila of being the real bully by pointing to the country’s occupation of some islands in the 1970s.

Despite the Philippines being a “land-grabber,” Wang said his country has been very patient because it wants to defuse tensions.

“But to maintain and protect and stability of the [West Philippine Sea], we have maintained huge restraint,” he said.

Look Who’s Talking, Japan

Regarding Japan’s support for the Philippines and its criticism of China’s construction of artificial islands, Wang said Tokyo stay out of the dispute since it had no moral authority over the matter.

Specifically, he pointed to Japan’s wartime occupation of China and its installation of a facility in a remote Pacific island it calls Okinotorishima.

The island is located between Taiwan and Guam.

“Before criticizing others, Japan must first take a good look at its words and behavior,” he said.

China is currently embroiled with the two countries in territorial dispute; with the Philippines, over the West Philippine Sea; with Japan, over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands.

China’s growing aggressiveness has spurred Japan and the Philippines—wartime enemies as well—to strengthen their economic and military ties.