Locsin recommends ending ties with Chinese firms in SCS reclamation

PHILIPPINE Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. on Friday, August 28, said local contracts with any Chinese companies involved in island-building activities in the West Philippine Sea should be terminated following the United States’ move to blacklist firms that took part in the militarization activities in the disputed waters.

“If I find that any of those companies are doing business with us then I would strongly recommend terminating the relationship with that company,” Locsin said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

“If they were in any way involved in the reclamation, then it becomes consistent on our part to terminate any contract with them. Of course, since the contract was already entered into, they could sue us back… I’m very careful about validating anything China does by inaction,” he added.

This week, Washington blacklisted 24 state-owned Chinese firms including subsidiaries of the state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which bagged Cavite’s Sangley Point International Airport project.

According to the U.S., CCCC “have engaged in corruption, predatory financing, environmental destruction, and other abuses across the world.”

“Since 2013, the PRC (People’s Republic of China) has used its state-owned enterprises to dredge and reclaim more than 3,000 acres on disputed features in the South China Sea, destabilizing the region, trampling on the sovereign rights of its neighbors, and causing untold environmental devastation,” said State Secretary Michael Pompeo.

Malacañang, for its part, said it is hoping that the issue between the U.S. and China would be addressed “amicably and peacefully.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stressed that the Philippines considers both countries as its “special friends and trading partners.”

“We hope that both partners of the Philippines will be able to draw an understanding and resolve any and all issues between them amicably and peacefully,” he said Friday.

The spokesman added that he believes the outcome of this issue would “help further enhance greater stability and security” in the West Philippine Sea.

“This is what is needed for the mutual benefit and interest of everyone in our region,” Roque said

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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