Tolentino: PH not a US proxy in conflict vs. China

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 10) — Amid rising tensions between Manila and Beijing, Senator Francis Tolentino said the Philippines would not become a tool, or surrogate, for other nations to use against China.

“Hindi po proxy war kasi hindi lang naman United States ang kaalyado natin dito eh. Kaalyado rin natin ang Japan, kaalyado natin ang Australia, kaalyado natin ang United Kingdom, kaalyado natin ang Europe… nabanggit ko rin in the recent weeks, lumantad nang (kaalyado) ang India. So halos lahat,” Tolentino told the media on Sunday.

[Translation: This is not a proxy war because it’s not just the United States we’re allied with. We’re with Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe…I mentioned this in the recent weeks, India has revealed itself as an ally, so almost all.]

At the 43rd ASEAN summit, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. rejected narratives that the disputes over the South China Sea were centered on competition “between two powerful countries.”

Last July, China alleged that the US government was behind tensions over the contested waters. Washington has denied the allegation and described such claim as an insult to the Philippines.

Furthermore, Tolentino posited that China’s latest 10-dash line — which expanded its claim over the South China Sea to overlap with the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia — would push these countries to become vocal against Beijing’s aggression.

Meanwhile, China continues to lead incursions and harass Filipino civilian and government vessels within Manila’s EEZ in the West Philippine Sea. Most recently, it tried and failed to block a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.