Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. said he will recommend ending local contracts with Chinese firms found to be behind incursions in the South China Sea, similar to sanctions imposed by the United States.
“Yes, if I find any of those companies are doing business with us, then I would strongly recommend we terminate that relationship with them. If they were in any way involved in the reclamation, then it becomes consistent on our part to terminate any contract with them,” Locsin told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Friday.
“Of course, since the contract was already entered into, they could sue us back… I’m very careful about validating anything China does by inaction,” he added, saying he still needs to coordinate with the Department of Transportation and the National Economic and Development Authority if any approved or ongoing projects are being carried out with Chinese partners covered by US sanctions.
Washington has taken an aggressive stance against China’s incursion in the South China Sea. Just this week, the US government imposed sanctions on Beijing’s state-run firms as well as visa restrictions on Chinese nationals involved in reclamation and militarization activities in disputed waters.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told state media Xinhua that its construction activities “are entirely within its sovereignty,” adding that the activities of state firms are legitimate and lawful. He went on to call the US sanctions as “unjustified,” telling Washington to stop meddling in Beijing’s affairs.
Also covered by the blacklist are workers of China-owned enterprises including subsidiaries of China Communications Construction Company.
The same company is tapped as partner of Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corporation in upgrading the Sangley Airport in Cavite. CNN Philippines is striving to get comments from the project proponents.
For his part, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said he will wait for the national government’s official decision. “We will wait for the President’s directive. This is a very complex issue with geopolitical implications. I cannot weigh on this alone,” he said via text message.