President of the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists, Benny Antiporda, has expressed concern over China’s continued aggressive actions in East Sea waters that it now claims as part of its national territory.
In a statement issued on Friday, he said the actions had become a serious concern for all peace-loving people, particularly those in Southeast Asia.
Specifically, he said China’s actions had seriously affected its relationship with the Philippines and Viet Nam, both of whom were now at the receiving end of Chinese “bullying” tactics.
“We describe China’s actions as bullying because, clearly, it is using its economic and military might against its weak and smaller neighbours to back up its territorial claims without regard to historical tradition and facts and to the long, peaceful relationship that has existed between China and other countries in the ASEAN region,” the statement said.
As the umbrella organisation of all media groups in the region, the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists supported all efforts of the affected governments and other international groups and agencies to find a more lasting and binding solution to this issue through peaceful means, the statement added.
He said that China, as a leading member of the United Nations, should show leadership by example through respect for the territorial integrity of its immediate neighbours and abide by the rule of law and international arbitration in the settlement of disputes.
Antiporda said fellow journalists in the region and elsewhere should pool their efforts and call on China to return to the negotiating table.
“We should also remind China that the policy it is currently pursuing is not earning it greater respect, but rather, greater suspicion leading to its isolation before the eyes of the world,” he said.
China yesterday used a reconnaissance plane to oversee the operation of Vietnamese law-enforcement ships near its illegally placed oil rig in Vietnamese waters.
The Viet Nam Fisheries Surveillance Department said that from 7:15 to 8:05am, the TU-154M reconnaissance aircraft coded 1224 was seen flying 200-300m above the sea .
China still has 106 ships of various types around its oil rig. They include 46 coastguard vessels, 14 cargo ships, 27 fishing boats, 14 tugboats, and five military vessels.
When Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ships tried to approach the rig at a distance of 10-11 nautical miles to demand China withdraw its rig and ships from Viet Nam’s waters, Chinese ships kept close to Vietnamese ships, hindering them from getting closer.
While Vietnamese fishing ships were operating in their traditional fishing grounds, they were obstructed by Chinese fishing ships backed by their coast guard and fishery logistics’ ships.