MANILA (The Philippine Star) — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has warned that China’s claim of defensive posture in the South China Sea could easily turn to offensive operations.
Lorenzana stressed that it must be known to everybody that any defensive capabilities in the military can readily transform into offensive capabilities.
“You have to understand, in the military term, a defensive capability can be turned into offensive capability in an instant,” Lorenzana said in a live interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Friday.
Beijing has repeatedly denied accusations that it is militarizing the disputed region with its deployment of missile systems, fighter jets and warships, to man-made islands in the Spratlys.
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua also assured the Philippines that China is “not seeking trouble” amid unresolved disputes in the South China as he downplayed the sighting of Chinese research vessels and warships in Philippine territorial waters.
Zhao stressed China’s commitment to peaceful solution to the maritime row is on solid ground.
“If you listen to the Chinese narrative, they are not here to attack anybody but to protect their own interests. They always say that what they are doing in the South China Sea, in the artificial islands are all defensive,” Lorenzana said.
But a local security official said China’s military buildup in the South China Sea is all aimed at enhancing its offensive capabilities as part of a grand plan to dominate the region.
The security official who refused to be identified said that what is keeping China for now from shifting from defensive to offensive military actions in the region, is the presence of other key players wary of Beijing’s actions.
“China’s has been enhancing its capability to assert military control through denying access in and over the South China Sea and what is keeping them from their military to do so are the presence of other parties opposed to their South China Sea domination plan,” the security official said.
Aside from the claimant states, countries like the United States, Australia and Japan are actively challenging China’s maritime and territorial expansion through a series of maritime activities including regular Freedom of Navigation Operations and overflights in the region.
Beiing at its own comfortable pace, continues to pursue its plan to dominate the region.
“Had the Americans, the Australians, the Japanese as well as the French and the British not been closely watching their moves and actions, China’s military could have already taken total control of the entire disputed region,” he said.