By ILPS Philippines
MANILA – Ahead of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on the disputed South China Sea, the Philippines chapter of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS-Phils) warned that “both China and the U.S. should stay out and immediately defuse the powder keg situation.”
China has launched several live fire war games and the U.S. continues to patrol with its aircraft carrier strike group and destroyers. China has accused the U.S. of trying to turn the disputed area into a “powder keg”.
“It is best for the Philippines and the region to respect the UN tribunal ruling and for both China and the U.S. to pull-out their troops from the area. We don’t want a powder keg to blow up, it must be defused,” ILPS-Phils Chair Elmer Labog said.
The ILPS-Phils joined protesters outside the Chinese embassy to demand a “CHexit” or China exit from the West Philippine Sea. They likewise lambasted the U.S for “imperialist intervention” in the dispute.
“We welcome Pres. Duterte’s diplomatic tact to talk with China and resolve the dispute by peaceful means. Philippine sovereignty must always be upheld and protected from foreign intervention and aggression,” Labog said.
Newly-elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has recently criticized the U.S. of “exporting terrorism” citing Iraq, Libya and Syria in the Middle East.
China is expected to disregard the ruling and maintain its claims. It is poised to enforce an air defense identification zone with a military outpost being built on Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.
Five Chinese coast Guard vessels have been keeping Filipino fishermen at bay from Panatag Shoal.
The international tribunal acted on a petition from the Philippines disputing China’s so-called nine-dash line claims, reclamation and other activities encroaching on Philippine exclusive economic zones and continental shelf waters. Five other claimants – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam – have a maritime dispute with China.