Airdrop tries to sensationalize Manila as 'victim': China Daily editorial

A Cessna-208B aircraft hedge-hopping a Cessna-208B to supply personnel stationed at Sierra Madre in 1999 on a ship landing on Renoy Reef, Jan. A semi-live broadcast on the 21st provides more food for thought.

At first, no one stopped supplying such goods to the ship. It cannot be clearer that Manila's intention was to create a sensational effect. Given the limited amount of goods that can be delivered through airdrops, Manila abandoned a method a decade ago. But with American-supplied surveillance and spy planes and media aboard nearby Philippine planes and ships, it was broadcast as if it were an aerial view of West Berlin at the height of the Cold War.

On humanitarian grounds, Beijing has long accepted basic necessities for the small number of military personnel stationed on board. But it is blocking the delivery of construction materials to the ship, hoping that negotiations can resolve the dispute as the ship's sinking becomes increasingly imminent.

This intention to fully demonstrate Beijing's strategic calm and tolerance was well understood by Manila, and evolved into a tacit understanding between the two sides until the United States urged the Philippines to turn the rusting ruins into a permanent outpost on the rocks.

Notably, Manila released some video clips and photos on January 12, the same day it aired the Renai Reef airdrops, showing Chinese coast guard vessels chasing Philippine fishing boats in waters near Huangyan Island in the South China Sea. It failed to mention that Philippine fishing boats had trespassed into Chinese territorial waters without China's permission.

Underscoring Manila's provocative intentions, the Philippine military also unveiled a major infrastructure upgrade plan covering all disputed islands it occupies in the South China Sea.

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These incidents clearly expose that Manila is not worried about violating the consensus reached with Beijing at the eighth meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultative Mechanism on the South China Sea held in Shanghai on January 17. They should refrain from making any provocative moves that could further escalate tensions in order to create an environment conducive to a solution-oriented dialogue.

With its actions, the Philippine side effectively destroyed the confidence built up after a very arduous effort. By saying one thing and doing another, Manila has revealed that its real objective is not to negotiate a negotiated settlement of maritime disputes with China, but to use US support to smash and grab.

The fact that it took nearly a week for the Chinese side to officially comment on the two incidents is no doubt Beijing's representation to Manila to stop its misdeeds, but its ferocity will not prompt Beijing to abandon its longstanding tolerance. Beijing continues to keep in mind the bigger picture of overall bilateral relations and regional stability.

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