President Aquino Speaks to the Nation
ABS-CBN TV News
Gretchen Fullido, Reporting
Two weeks ago the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing, addressed an audience on the 11th anniversary of Philippine-China Friendship Day.
Ambassador Kequing read a special message to the audience from the Chinese President conveying friendship, peace and prosperity to the Filipino people.
It has often been said that Diplomacy is the art of lying for ones country. If that is the case Ambassador Kequing certainly succeeded. China’s message of “peace, friendship and prosperity” sounds hollow now in light of what has occurred and should serve as a warning to all other nations what the true Chinese definition of peace, friendship and prosperity is really all about.
The South China Sea dispute has festered for many years but time and again over a period of many years dating back to the 1950s, China has repeatedly refused to settle the disputed claims diplomatically despite numerous attempts to do so by nations that are parties to the disputed claims and those that are not.
By taking military action against the Philippines and its ASEAN neighbors China has shown that it has a complete and utter disregard and disrespect for all of its neighbors.
This is borne out by the reckless and arrogant comments made recently by Chinese State Run CCTV news and talk show personalities. These comments, although not made directly by any Chinese official,are attitudes that are fully reflective of and supported by the Chinese government.
I want to make it clear and in no uncertain terms to both the Philippine people and the Chinese Government that I have a sworn oath under the Philippine Constitution, to "defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
We are working closely with our ASEAN Brothers and regional allies to formulate a coordinated response diplomatically,economically,militarily,and politically to the unprovoked Chinese aggression against the Philippine people. Although we cannot at this time reveal the nature or content of these plans there are actions we have or already are taking that we can reveal.
First,we have demanded that China immediately withdraw its military forces.
We have also demanded that the Chinese Government provide an immediate and complete accountability, thru representatives of the International Red Cross, of the 60 military and 300 civilian personnel that were located on Thitu Island at the time of the Chinese attack.
The Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing and the International Red Cross have been provided with an official list of all such personnel.
This is the second time we have made this request of the Chinese government and we expect the Chinese government to respond post-haste.
Next,the Philippine Government has recalled our Ambassador to China along with all senior staff members.
The Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines and all senior embassy staff are being returned to China Persona-Non-Grata. No replacements will be accepted at this time and this will constitute a permanent reduction in the total number of Chinese embassy staff permissible upon any return to normal relations.
All Chinese Assets in the Philippines are hereby frozen.
Several Chinese funded High Visibility infrastructure projects contracts such as the $1.5 billion Philippine Rails LRT 1 High Speed Rail line from Manila to Clark International Airport will be terminated and rebid. Chinese firms will be prohibited from bidding on any further projects.
Some hardship will occur to the Philippine people because of the actions our government is taking against the Chinese government today but I feel that this will be far better in the long run than having to deal with a deceptive and dishonest "friend" that has their hand in the "cookie jar" of our economy and nation.
We will do our best as a government to mitigate any negative effects of our actions today.
We call upon the Philippine people to work together and stand shoulder to shoulder to support each other through this crises and let the Chinese government know that "this will not stand"