THE Foreign Affairs Department declined to comment Wednesday on China’s threat to make the United States pay the price if it crosses Beijing’s limits in the disputed South China Sea.
“We have yet to confirm the report,” the department said in a message.
The Philippines has repeatedly said it will not go to war with China and will pursue only peaceful solutions to the territorial dispute with Beijing.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has earlier said that a special envoy might be appointed for back-channel talks with China to resolve the issue.
A UN tribunal is set to release a decision on the complaint filed by Manila against Beijing on July 12, with many observers expecting a ruling in favor of the Philippines.
China, which has rejected the jurisdiction of the court, has said it will reject any of its decisions.
In an editorial of the state-owned People’s Daily, China warned the United States that there would be a price to pay if it crosses China’s bottom line and meddles in disputes over the South China Sea.
The paper said that bilateral ties and regional stability were at stake and that the US should recognize that “there is a bottom line with every issue, and a price will be paid if that line is crossed.”
“If the United States, regardless of the cost, chooses the path of ‘brinkmanship’ that pressures and intimidates others, there will be only one result, that is, that the US bears all the responsibility for possibly further heightening tensions in the South China Sea,” the editorial said.
“China has a solid-rock position over safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It will not want anything that does not belong to it, but it will ensure that every inch of land it owns is safe and sound,” the editorial said.
The newspaper has previously accused Washington of seeking to turn the South China Sea “into a powder keg” and warned it not to underestimate China’s determination to defend its territorial claims.
China also started holding seven days of military drills around disputed islands in the sea.
Beijing on Wednesday said the Philippines arbitration case against it has soured relations between the two countries and undermined the international rule of law and regional stability.
It said arbitration was detrimental to the interests of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which groups 10 member states, including the Philippines.
Arbitration compromises existing rules of conduct in the Asean, which emphasizes a spirit of equality, consensus and cooperation, China said.
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