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Sotto believes China won’t invade the Philippines

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Saturday said that China, even with its aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea, has no intention to invading the country.

"Walang planong sakupin tayo, ganun ang pananaw ko, kaya komportable ako," Sotto said in an interview on state-run PTV’s Laging Handa briefing.

(They have no intention to invade us, that's what I believe, that's why I'm not worried.)

Around 220 Chinese fishing vessels that were believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel were moored at the Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef) on March 7, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea confirmed last Saturday.

China has been claiming historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within its so-called nine-dash line or the entire South China Sea, some portions of which are part of the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Sotto, however, argued that China had every opportunity to invade the country even before Spain colonized the Philippines 500 years ago or even before the United States and Japan occupied the country, but it never did.

The Senate president added that the country cannot afford to confront China since it is the third most powerful military in the world and the Philippines is only at around 70th to 80th spot.

With this, the lawmaker said the Philippines shall bank on its defense treaty with the US, its long-term ally.

"The US is number one, two is Russia, pangatlo ang China. So paano tayo? Okay na kasangga natin 'yung number one," Sotto said.

(The US is number one, number two is Russia, and China is third. How about us? So, it’s great that the number one is our ally.)

"Ang nakalagay doon, kahit isang maliit na barko na pagaari ng gobyerno na nagkaroon ng aggression from another country, the treaty kicks in automatically. Talagang komportable ako dun, I rely on that," Sotto said, referring to the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines.

(It is stated in the treaty, that even a small government ship happens to act aggressively towards another country, the treaty automatically kicks in. I'm comfortable with that, I rely on that.) — DVM, GMA News