China’s coronavirus diplomacy backfires in the Philippines « Khabarhub
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China’s coronavirus diplomacy backfires in the Philippines

26 May 2020  

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MANILA: The music video released by the Chinese Embassy in Manila dedicated to COVID-19 frontline workers drew anger among Filipino internet users as the song had indirectly referred to the South China Sea — known locally as the West Philippine Sea.

The song’s music video “Iisang Dagat” (One Sea) was released on the 23rd of April this year.

Written by Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, the song was performed by Xia Wenxin, a Chinese diplomat from the embassy, and some Filipino and Chinese celebrities.

The song has mentioned the friendship between the China and Indonesia and their cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The video shows a fisher on a boat in Manila Bay, and the title of the song has made it difficult for several Filipinos not to think that the Chinese diplomats were trying to downplay the maritime dispute over the South China Sea by emphasizing the unity of the two governments in battling the pandemic.

The video soon garnered a substantial number of dislikes.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer said: “The song’s fervent avowals to friendship, solidarity, and furthering Filipino-Chinese relations flies in the face of China’s brazen disregard and aggressive lockout of the country’s territorial rights over the West Philippine Sea.”

Two days before the official release of the music video, the government of Philippines had filed a diplomatic protest against China about the two incidents in the sea.

While the first incident referenced a People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel pointing a gun at a Philippine Navy ship in the waters of Philippines, the second issue referred to the naming and inclusion of Philippine territories in the administrative rolls of China.

The outcome of the unpopularity of the song and video was to politicize the goodwill gestures extended by China.

A senator also proposed that China should shoulder the expenses of the Philippines’ COVID-19 for the destruction of the marine resources in the South China Sea.

There has been a remarkable surge of anti-China sentiment in Philippines in recent times.

(With inputs from Agencies)

Publish Date : 26 May 2020 12:50 PM

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