The Philippines remains committed to adhering to the One-China policy amid looming tensions in the Taiwan Strait following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei this week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.
“The Philippines adheres to the One-China policy. The Philippines urges restraint by all parties concerned. Diplomacy and dialogue must prevail,” the DFA said.
However, the Philippines must be prepared for China’s possible “forcible retake of Taiwan,” a security analyst said Thursday.
The Asian giant’s takeover of Taiwan is among the “worst” case scenarios, according to Chester Cabalza of the think tank International Development and Security Cooperation, in an interview with ANC Headstart.
“We have to be prepared for this. Of course, our policy is not to interfere but to observe because we also have national security interest in Taiwan because we have overseas Filipino workers there,” Cabalza said.
“In case there will be a retake of Taiwan by China using force, automatically Manila will become the buffer zone of China,” he added.
Malacanang, through Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, reiterated that the Philippines’ position on the One-China principle has not changed.
“Our answer is that we have not changed that,” she said.
The statement came after Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian appealed to the Philippines to strictly abide by the One-China policy.
“The One-China principle is an international consensus and universally recognized basic norm governing international relations. It is also the political foundation of China-Philippines relations,” Huang said in an earlier statement.
“It is our hope that the Philippine side will 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,” the Chinese envoy said.
In deference to the One-China policy, the Philippines does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, a democratic self-ruled island that has been separated from the Chinese mainland since 1949 but is still claimed by China as part of its territory.
The Philippines, however, maintains a de facto embassy in Taiwan, called the Manila Economic and Cultural Office or MECO.
Taiwan hosts 115,000 Filipinos, mostly working in factories.
“In case China intends to invade the Philippines, it will be like the Ukraine case because we are very close to China already,” Cabalza said.
The Philippines should strengthen its military and not “depend on these two superpowers because they have their own vested interest,” the analyst added.
“To have an independent foreign policy is to have stronger armed forces… Our interest is to protect our own people and the sovereignty of our country and the territorial integrity of the Philippines. We have to invest in military modernization,” he said.
The conflict between the US and China is “inevitable,” Cabalza said.
“The Philippines and Taiwan will become a strategic bullseye for these superpowers basically.”