PH has no intention to interfere in Taiwan issue - NSC exec

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 16, 2023, 11:58 am

<p>NSC assistant director general and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya <em>(File photo)</em></p>

NSC assistant director general and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines has no desire or intention to interfere with the Taiwan issue, a ranking official of the National Security Council (NSC) said.

NSC assistant director general and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya made this clarification following the remarks of Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian last Friday which stated that the US intends to take advantage of the new sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agency (EDCA) to interfere in the Taiwan Strait situation.

"The NSC wishes to clarify that the Philippines has no intention of interfering in the Taiwan issue and will not allow itself to be used by other countries to interfere in the said issue as claimed by the Chinese Ambassador in the Philippines in a forum in Manila," he said in a statement Saturday night.

Malaya also added that National Security Adviser Eduardo M. Año has made the Philippines' position clear on the increased security cooperation between the Philippines and the United States and this only meant "to develop and strengthen the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to enable it to protect and defend the territory of the Philippines."

"And is not meant to contain or counter any nation in the region or to interfere in another nation’s affairs," he pointed out.

Malaya also said the Philippines is primarily concerned about improving its defense capability, modernizing equipment and assets and developing infrastructure.

"These are the primary reasons why we are increasing our security cooperation with the United States under the 72-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty between our two countries," he said.

Malaya said the Philippines observes the One China Policy and subscribes to the ASEAN principle of non-interference in approaching regional issues.

He added that the country's primordial concern in Taiwan is the safety and well-being of the more than 150,000 Filipinos living and working on the island.

Malaya also said the Philippines takes "grave exception to any effort by guests in our country to use this to fear-monger and intimidate us."

In a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador earlier this week, Año personally assured the Chinese ambassador that the additional EDCA sites are not meant for offensive operations against China or for interference in the Taiwan issue but instead are meant to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

He assured Huang that the Philippines is for the peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue and for the continued stability of the region.

During this meeting, Malaya said Año explained that the choice of the EDCA sites is in accordance with the Strategic Basing Plan of the AFP.

The identified EDCA sites are Philippine bases which the country wants to further develop based on the requirements for strategic basing and development of the AFP.

Malaya also said the selection was not US-dictated but identified by the AFP.

"The development of these Philippine bases will enable the government to further strengthen the AFP to enable it to defend and protect the country. By developing our military and base infrastructure, we are pursuing our national interest and actually contributing to regional peace and stability. We hope that the People's Republic of China will see this as the country’s positive contribution towards peace and stability in the region," Malaya said. (PNA)