The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are “closely monitoring” the visit of United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan following concerns it could severely escalate tensions with China.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles made this remark Wednesday after Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian reminded the Philippines to adhere to the One-China policy amid Pelosi’s visit to what Beijing calls its “breakaway province.”
“Our military and our DFA are closely monitoring the situation as they would in any other similar circumstance,” Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace press briefing.
She refused to give any more comments, saying that reacting to issues on international relations would have to be “studied.”
“On matters of international relations, reactions are studied. We don’t make knee-jerk reactions because they could adversely affect international relations,” she added.
Cruz-Angeles said, “loose words” that might affect international relations were “very difficult to rebuild.”
On Tuesday, Huang expressed China’s opposition to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
“There is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” Huang said.
He stressed that the One-China principle is “the political foundation of the diplomatic relations between China and 181 countries in the world, including the US.”
Huang also hoped the Philippines would “strictly abide by the one-China principle and handle all Taiwan-related issues with prudence to ensure sound and steady development of China-Philippines relations.”
On Tuesday, the DFA said it has not received any request from the United States to grant Pelosi clearance to use the Philippines as a transit point for her trip to Taiwan.
The statement came after reports circulated online that Pelosi would be taking off from Clark en route to Taiwan.
“The DFA has not received any request from the US government or their Embassy in Manila for Speaker Pelosi to transit and/ or visit the Philippines as part of her current swing of visits to the region,” DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza told reporters.
For officials like Pelosi, Daza said a request would be coursed through the DFA, which will then coordinate with other relevant offices.
“For example, if it is for landing then it will be with the airport among others,” she said.
The US and the Philippines adopt the One-China policy, recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the sole Chinese government.
“The Philippines continues to adhere to the One-China policy. It, however, has strong commercial and cultural ties with Taiwan. The Philippines has a Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei just as Taiwan has its TECO in Manila,” Daza said.
China has repeatedly warned the US that Pelosi pushing through with the trip would “seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry then threatened the US side that Beijing is “fully prepared for any eventuality and that the People’s Liberation Army of China will never sit idly by, and we will make resolute responses and take strong countermeasures to uphold China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
In a separate statement, Ambassador Huang said a visit to Taiwan by Pelosi “at any time in whatever name is by no means an unofficial exchange between the United States and Taiwan region of China.”
“As one of the three branches of the US government, the US Congress should adhere to the One-China policy. Speaker Pelosi is second in the US presidential line of succession,” he said.
“Should Speaker Pelosi insist on making a visit to Taiwan region in disregard of China’s strong objection, such a visit will seriously violate the One-China principle and the stipulations in the three Sino-US joint communiqués, seriously harm China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously undermine the political foundation of China-US relations, seriously jeopardize peace and stability across the Taiwan strait, and send a gravely wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces,” he added.