MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan urged newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to file a diplomatic protest against China for threatening war against the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute.
Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party (LP), issued the statement on Sunday, May 21, in reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping's reported remarks to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Did China really threaten the Philippines with war after President Duterte asserted the Southeast Asian nation's sovereignty over disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea? If so, then Foreign Affairs Secretary Cayetano should issue a diplomatic protest for this threat," Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan's statement also comes a day after Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the Philippines can sue China for making such a threat.
"The hearing should tackle not only this issue, but also the details of the $24-billion loans and investments recently sealed with China, as well as the Duterte administration's decision to reject aid from the European Union (EU)," Pangilinan added.
The Philippines' decision to no longer accept EU grants would affect around 250 million euros or P13.85 billion worth of aid.