WPS sidetracked in state visit 

By Reni M. Valenzuela

They got the better of us.

Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. did his best in bringing up the issue of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) before Xi Jinping, but I’m sorry to say, Mr. President, it looked like a sell-out.

The main concern in the Philippines’ maritime crisis with China (for Filipinos) is not the plight of our fishermen in the contested area/s, but the plight of our nation as a whole. You, together with your team, apparently have gotten sidetracked by your Chinese counterparts in discussing the issue. Good that you had the chance to talk about the sea row with President Jinping and his foreign officials in your just concluded 3-day official trip to China, but it was a chance lost, wasted and gone with the wind.

The bottom line issue is the occupancy of our maritime territory by China as China claims it to be theirs, by way of invasion at that. The issue is the building of structures, the swarming of the Chinese vessels and the trampling of our dignity as a nation – not the “economy,” not the “bilateral agreements,” not communication lines, not the safety and welfare of a few of our fishermen. You have not asserted our rights.  You have instead reinforced further their claim of rights (falsely) over the WPS.

Now it behooves you, Mr. President, to do something to rectify the impression that we have already surrendered to China our West Philippine Sea. Your adviser or group of advisers need to come to their senses. Or they need to be booted out and replaced. I regret to say, Sir, that you were all outsmarted by the Chinese officials.


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