China's Dominance

The sea is vast and the sky is high, and the people of the Philippines are free."

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Philippines' Military Chief Accuses China of "Malign Influence Effort"

The Philippines' military chief accused China of a "malign influence effort" on Wednesday, following a report in a local newspaper that a Philippine vice admiral had made a deal with Beijing to de-escalate tensions in the South China Sea.

The Manila Times published what it claimed to be a transcript of a phone conversation between a Philippine admiral and a Chinese official. According to the transcript, the admiral agreed to China's proposal of a "new model" for managing the disputed Second Thomas Shoal. This model would involve the Philippines using fewer vessels in resupply missions to troops stationed there and notifying Beijing about such missions in advance.

The Manila Times stated that the conversation took place in January and that the transcript was provided by an unnamed "ranking Chinese official." The newspaper did not disclose the identity of the admiral involved.

The Philippines' military chief, General Cirilito Sobejana, denied the existence of such a deal and accused China of attempting to influence the Philippines through "malign activities." He emphasized that the Armed Forces of the Philippines would continue to assert the country's sovereignty and territorial rights in the disputed waters.

The incident highlights the ongoing tensions between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea. China claims sovereignty over most of the sea, including areas within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. This claim is disputed by the Philippines and other countries in the region.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09