The Philippines is not looking for any conflict or war with China but is merely protecting its maritime territories from the latter's continued encroachment, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said Wednesday. In a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing, the defense chief said protecting the country's territory is accepted under international law and that Beijing's expansive territorial claims on the West Philippine Sea that encroach on Manila's other territories in the area are contrary to the "norms of international law". "Uulitin ko: ayaw natin ng gyera at hindi tayo nakikipag gyera. Ang ginagawa natin pinoproteksyunan natin ang atin upang mapigil ang pagkupkop at paghihimasok dito ng China na wala silang karapatan, sa anumang batas wala silang karapatan sa WPS (I will say this again: we do want a war and we are not waging a war. What we are doing is protecting our territory to stop China's repeated incursions in our territory. They have no right here, in any law. They have no right in the WPS)," he added. Teodoro also said the misinformation being spread by China that the Philippines' presence in the WPS is illegal is being taken seriously by the government. "You know that is why the government under President (Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.) is taking this seriously because this is an affront to our territorial integrity and it's a ridiculous assertion of international law or a revision of international law to suit their expansionist ends," he added. In justifying its presence in the WPS, China has been claiming that these waters are part of its territory and engaging in law enforcement functions while harassing Filipino ships or vessels conducting their mandate there. Teodoro also said that China is using misinformation to weaken the "political will and unity" of the country. He urged all Filipinos to unite with the government in countering Beijing's narrative.
Source: Philippines News Agency