Philippines ready with contingencies over US-China rift on Taiwan

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd and U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro conduct Taiwan Strait transits August 27, 2021. — U.S. NAVY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

THE PHILIPPINES is prepared for disasters including a possible escalation of tensions between the US and China over Taiwan, its Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.

“There are always contingency plans in place, not just in China… but anywhere in the world,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo José A. de Vega told a news briefing. “They have contingency plans in place for any kind of disaster.”

“They are, in fact, in touch with employers, with local companies and Filipino community leaders to implement the strategic plans in case they are necessary,” he added.

“We hope that diplomacy and dialogue will always prevail in any flashpoint,” he added.

China has extended its military drills within the east and west coasts of Taiwan, despite an initial announcement of staying for only four days. Ballistic missiles have been launched, while attacks were simulated both within the skies and seas surrounding Taiwan.

China’s anger was sparked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. She was the highest-ranking official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. She said her visit is part of a “broader trip” to the Indo-Pacific region that focuses on “mutual security, economic partnership and democratic governance.”

DFA Assistant Secretary Daniel R. Espiritu told the same briefing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had asked the US and China to hold a dialogue to resolve the issue peacefully.  — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan