China is 'cherry-picking facts' to justify its bullying tactics in the West Philippine Sea, according to Commodore Jay Tarriela, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman for WPS concerns

'By cherry-picking facts, the People's Republic of China uses lies and fake news as smokescreen to divert attention away from their illegal action, provocative behavior and bullying tactics to assert their illegitimate dashed lines that even their own Communist Party is confused on whether it should be 9, 10, 11 or even 12,' Tarriela said on X.

In criticizing Beijing's actions, the PCG official was lifting lines from an article in China's Xinhua news agency, which accused the Philippines of resorting to 'selective disclosure' and 'cherry-picking facts.'

Xinhua also accused the US and Japan of influencing the public's perception of the situation in favor of the Philippines.

The Xinhua article said that 'in terms of media ethics, the core of the Philippine public relations tactic can also be defined as 'selective disclosure' or 'cherry-picking facts.' By cherry-picking facts, the Philippines uses professed victimhood as a smokescreen to divert attention away from its provocations and violations of Chinese sovereignty.'

It also accused the United States and Japan of having significantly aided the Philippines to influence the public's perception of the situation in the WPS.

'By exploiting their extensive network of think tanks and influential media outlets, they wield substantial influence in shaping narratives that align with the Philippines' agenda,' the Chinese news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the signing of a Reciprocal Access Agreement that will allow the Philippines and Japan to send military forces to each other's territory for joint drills may take place this year, but not during the historic trilateral summit of Manila, Tokyo and Washington this week, according to Manila's ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.

President Marcos, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden are slated to meet in Washington on April 12 to tackle regional security issues amid rising tensions in the South China Sea due to China's growing aggressiveness in asserting its wide-reaching but invalidated maritime claim.

According to some reports, the Philippines and Japan may agree on an access deal shortly after the summit, the first time the three leaders will meet to tackle common security concerns.

Romualdez told The STAR the agreement may be signed before the end of the year, and not in Washington, with Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro signing for the Philippines.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement was discussed during the bilateral meeting of Marcos and Kishida on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo in December last year.

The two leaders agreed to continue working together to reach an early conclusion of the talks on the agreement. They also discussed enhancing cooperation between their coast guards.

Marcos has described the proposed access deal as 'extremely significant,' saying it would give Manila and Tokyo greater capability to maintain the peace in the South China Sea as well as to respond to disasters.

The agreement was also mentioned when Japanese Ambassador Endo Kazuya presented his credentials to Marcos last week. According to the ambassador, the two countries are 'working hard' for the conclusion of the Reciprocal Access Agreement.

The Philippines has visiting forces agreements with its treaty ally the US and Australia.

In a recent statement, the White House said that in the April 12 summit, Marcos, Kishida and Biden would 'advance a trilateral partnership built on deep historical ties of friendship, robust and growing economic relations, a proud and resolute commitment to shared democratic values and a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.'

While the meeting is widely perceived as an effort to counter China's muscle-flexing in the South China Sea, the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs has made it clear it is not directed at any country.

China, whose claim of 'historic rights' over the strategic sea lane was invalidated in 2016 by an arbitral tribunal based in The Hague, has been harassing Filipino fishing boats and other vessels right within Philippine waters.

Late last month, Marcos said the Philippines would put up a 'response and counter measure package that is proportionate, deliberate and reasonable in the face of the open, unabating and illegal, coercive, aggressive and dangerous attacks by agents of the China Coast Guard and the Chinese maritime militia.'

'We seek no conflict with any nation, more so nations that purport and claim to be our friends, but we will not be cowed into silence, submission or subservience. Filipinos do not yield,' Marcos said.


In a statement issued late Monday, Teodoro said the success of the Philippines' joint drills or maritime cooperative activity with the US, Japan and Australia last Sunday has shown to the world the country's commitment 'to preserving a secure, stable and peaceful Indo-Pacific region.'

'As an archipelagic country, it both upholds and champions a rules-based global order, especially in the maritime domain, where the primacy of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) is well-established and enshrined in the 2016 arbitral award,' he said.

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