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Philippine defense chief hits China for S. China Sea actions

Posted at 1:26 AM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 04:26:27-04

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine defense chief has criticized China for what he says are bullying actions in the South China Sea and says Beijing’s peaceful assurances contrast with its behavior in the contested sea.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana criticized China’s increasingly assertive actions when asked to comment Tuesday on the Chinese ambassador’s assurances that Beijing won’t seek hegemony in the contested waters and “will not take the first shot.”

Lorenzana said: “They say, ‘We do not bully people around,’ they follow international law, but I said you are not, what you are telling is not what you are doing on the ground.”

He said China’s takeover of the Scarborough Shoal following a protracted 2012 standoff “was bullying.” His critical stance contrasts with that of the country’s China-friendly president.