Protesters demonstrated outside the Chinese Embassy in Manila Thursday, demanding on China to stop militarizing the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The rally was co-organized by the Association of Vietnamese Students in the Philippines, and the Movement and Alliance to Resist China’s Aggression (MARCHA) led by former lawmaker Roilo Golez.
The protesters which include Filipino and foreign students condemned China’s militarization of the West Philippine Sea saying Beijing is ignoring international law by building artificial islands and building airstrips and radar towers in it.
“Being students and young professionals, we are here today to send them a message: We-Students from different countries always respect friendships with the people of China, but we strongly oppose their aggressiveness, their illegal activities and bullying behavior in the South China Sea,” said Nguyen Quoc Giang, president of The Association of Vietnamese students in the Philippines (AVSP).
“This massive construction of China and the alleged militarization is really affecting our national security and economic survival in the next coming years,” said Ryan Oliver, president, and convenor of National Youth Congress 2013.
Speaking at the protest, Golez said that if Beijing won’t be stopped, it will go further in militarizing the region.
“If there will be no outrage, if they won’t be stopped in the Woody Island, then they will also deploy these aircrafts and fighter jets here near the Philippines and that will be a grave threat to our security,” Golez said.
As part of the Paracel Islands, Woody Island is also claimed by the Republic of China (Taiwan) and by Vietnam. It is approximately 1,000 kilometers off the Philippines’ coastline.