World Bulletin / News Desk
The Philippines’ foreign affairs department said Tuesday that a movement boycotting products made in China was not sanctioned by the government, but an “independent drive”.
It released a statement saying that the boycott, which comes amid strained relations between the two countries over territorial disputes in the region’s seas, is being carried out by certain sectors in the country and worldwide exercising their “right to free expression”.
China claims almost the whole of the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea, but several other Asian nations have also laid claim.
A group called US Pinoys for Good Governance has been urging Filipinos to avoid purchasing and using Chinese products to show their objection to what they consider "bullying" in the sea.
Another group, the Di Ka Pasisiil Movement or Pinoy Patriots United, has been participating in protests against “aggressive” Chinese activities in the waters. Its leader, former national security adviser Roilo Golez, has told the state-run Philippine News Agency that members are particularly advocating the boycott of the garments sector -- where China is a major producer.
The foreign affairs department has stressed that both countries are in agreement that disputes over the sea “should not be the sum total of their relations”.
"Our two countries have agreed to abstract the South China Sea dispute for separate treatment and to allow the other areas of our bilateral relations to move forward," the statement added.
Manila and Beijing have been locked in a territorial dispute over potentially mineral and oil rich parts of the South China Sea over the past year.
China uses the so-called “nine-dash line” on the map to assert ownership of almost the entire South China Sea, while the Philippines uses the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as basis for its claim.
The Philippines has already sought international arbitration before a Netherlands-based tribunal to nullify China’s massive claims over South China Sea.
Beijing, however, has refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings, insisting instead on bilateral talks to settle the dispute.Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Haziran 2015, 15:28