Witty Filipinos brought up the territorial row with China after a Japanese astronaut shared a photo of the Philippines from space.
Astronaut Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency shared this breathtaking photo in a tweet on April 7 and captioned it with: “Beautiful #Philippines islands!”
— NOGUCHI, Soichi 野口 聡一（のぐち そういち） (@Astro_Soichi) April 6, 2021
In reactions to reports and below Soichi’s post, Filipinos mostly expressed their amazement and gratitude for sharing the photo.
“Thank you for taking a snap of our country. Indeed Philippines is breathtaking (heart emoji),” one user said.
Some local social media users, meanwhile, referenced the still ongoing territorial row at the West Philippine Sea in their comments.
They quipped that some of the territories in the photo are already owned by China.
“Island na lang po talaga ang sa Philippines, yong mga karagatan pag-aari na ng China,” one user said.
“We should show it to China. They’re under the impression our country is theirs because they paid off some useless government people,” another wrote.
“In the Philippines you’ll find 7,640 islands. But not all of them is ours, not anymore,” another user said.
One Facebook user cited the current issue involving a Chinese militia fleet moored at the Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, which is within Manila’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
“I see some Chinese man-made artificial islands with military bases built inside the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines and over 200 Chinese vessels plundering the Whitsun Reef,” the user commented.
Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana strongly demanded for the Chinese vessels to leave the West Philippine Sea, citing they had “no other reason” to stay since the weather is sunny.
“I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no other reason to stay there. Umalis na kayo diyan,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila also claimed that the reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands, which is known as the Spratly Island Group.
The Julian Felipe Reef is located around 324 kilometers or 175 nautical miles of a town in Palawan, thus a part of the country’s EEZ.
“The Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Islands (internationally known as the Spratly Island Group). The waters around Niu’e Jiao has been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen for many years,” the embassy said.