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China condemns Philippines’ trick of ‘playing victim’

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BEIJING: Chinese authorities on Thursday criticized the Philippines’ tricks of “playing victim” in the South China Sea and reiterated that China will not allow it to act willfully and has sufficient strategic resolve. 

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday that the Philippines always arranges for reporters in their missions to manipulate videos recorded to make sensational news and project the Philippines as a victim. 

Although the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FCAP) denied the accusations in a statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said at Thursday’s routine press briefing that the FCAP’s statement confused right and wrong and China firmly deplores it. 

“Who’s been stirring up trouble and making provocations on the South China Sea issue? Who’s been breaching the common understandings between our two countries and reneged on their own commitments? Who’s been staging a show and hyping up tensions? Who’s been pulling forces outside the region to interfere in the issue?” Lin asked, adding that China has explained the real situation on different occasions. 

“Whenever the Philippines carries out an operation in the South China Sea, it brings journalists along, including photo journalists from third countries. Why would the Philippines do that?” Lin asked, adding that he believes anyone fair-minded and unbiased can see that. 

Reporting facts and truth is the duty of reporters, and it is hoped that related organizations and reporters adhere to an objective stance and report the truth comprehensively and accurately, Lin said.

Also on Thursday, Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said at a routine press briefing that the Philippines’ harassment and provocations are the direct cause of the recent escalation of the South China Sea issue. Counting on the support of external forces, the Philippine side violated international law and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), frequently infringed upon China’s sovereignty, made provocations and created trouble, and spread misinformation to mislead the international community. 

“China will not allow the Philippines to act willfully, so we have responded with legitimate, resolute and restrained actions. The Philippine side should realize that provocations will only do itself more harm than good, and soliciting foreign support will lead nowhere,” Wu said. 

Both Lin and Wu pointed to US intervention as a destructive factor in the South China Sea issue. 

Wu noted there is no bigger factor than the US interference in causing turbulence in the region. The US, in disregard of the facts, provoked confrontation, backed up the Philippines, threatened and exerted pressure on China citing the so-called bilateral treaty, and sent military vessels to the South China Sea to stir up troubles. These actions seriously undermine regional peace and stability. 

China’s attitude toward this is clear: the US is in no position to interfere and the military cooperation between the US and the Philippines must not harm China’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Chen Xiangmiao, director of the World Navy Research Center at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday that the smear campaign against China was carefully plotted and realized through US-Philippine collusion. 

The US has always been skillful in such slandering actions, and transplanted this method to the Philippines. The reporters on board were carefully selected and their reporting was manipulated to represent the Philippine perspective only, analysts said. 

From leaders and politicians to media and think tanks, the Philippines and the US have conspired in the big farce to demonize China and mobilized other allies to amplify their voice in an attempt to mislead international community, Chen said, calling on the Chinese side to fight back with on-site photos, videos and comprehensive facts.