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Consider alliances with Netherlands, Norway, DFA urged

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should consider alliances with non-defense allies like Norway, the Netherlands and other countries for maritime exploration, research and development amid conflict with China over the West Philippines Sea (WPS), Sen. Francis Tolentino said yesterday.

Tolentino, chairman of the Senate committee on maritime and admiralty zone, aired his suggestion after the Chinese coast guard again water cannoned civilian vessels involved in resupply missions on the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

“Maybe very worrying… the statement made by China by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was (what the Philippines did was) an invitation to disgrace, inviting ourselves to be humiliated. That was very disrespectful language. The goal was not to embarrass, especially ourselves. It was only to bring supplies to our troops,” Tolentino noted in an interview over dzBB.

While the country should continue the resupply missions even by air, the senator said the alliances with non-defense allies would be one of two possible steps toward addressing the conflict between the Philippines and China over the WPS.

“First course of action, we can establish alliances, treaties, joint patrol and exercises with our allied countries,” Tolentino said.

“Second, we can also have joint exercises for peaceful marine science research in the area with non-allied countries with vast experience in science and research development, like Norway, which is not our ally in a defense treaty,” he added.

“So, we can involve Norway – who is good at maritime exploration, and research and development – in such an agreement,” Tolentino continued.

The senator added, “We can include the Netherlands. We can also include a country that is far from us, not only from Europe, but Latin America. We tap non-allied countries that seek to develop and explore the area through scientific research and development.”

Tolentino said the idea is not far-fetched, as there is already a model like that, “like the activities to explore and develop Antarctica, which has been considered as a common heritage of humankind.”

“We need not just our ordinary allies – our regular allies in terms