Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo faced the media on recently for the launch of Atty. Estelito Mendoza’s primer on the West Philippine Sea. Mendoza recalled that during the Arroyo administration, the South China Sea was peaceful and quiet. It’s only when the country under the Aquino administration made claims at the Haque that provoked China.
Youtube video from; Elena Grace Flores
[VIDEO]: The big headache of the President in the South China Sea is caused by Aquino’s filing a case at the Hague.
The continuing tension in the South China Sea is further provoked by the naval display of forces by the United States. China can only respond along with other countries. That did not exist during the Arroyo administration. It was relatively quiet and peaceful then because all these countries knew the importance of navigational freedom.
During the Arroyo administration, Mendoza disclosed that a joint seismic survey was undertaken by the three countries in the South China Sea. They agreed that all information gathered would be shared amongst them. Bilateral talks and understanding were highly respected then. There was no sneaking around to pursue territorial claims.
China did not Contest
Mendoza explained further that the Philippines even passed a law declaring the country’s rights over its 12 nautical miles territorial sea and exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles “China did not contest our 12-mile territorial sea. It implicitly recognized our 200-mile economic zone,” Mendoza said.
The President’s Headache
The artificial islands that China built during the Aquino administration as their way of contesting former Benigno Aquino’s filing a case at the Hague are now the current president’s big problem. Arroyo believes that the economic ties must be prioritized since China did not claim the Philippine territory within the 12 nautical miles in the West Philippine Sea.