BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines is very good at playing two-faced tactics.
Ostensibly, it boasts that it plays a "David vs Goliath" game with China, defiantly challenging China's territorial claims through international arbitration.
Secretly, it has adopted an insidious form, harassing Chinese fishermen in waters off Huangyan Island while stirring up domestic anti-China sentiment.
It is once again hiding behind the cover of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while inciting China bashing at the cost of the bloc's integration.
History has shown that ASEAN as a whole can bear the costs of misdeeds from a few. In 2012, a summit of ASEAN foreign ministers concluded for the first time without reaching a communique because the Philippines insisted on adding sea dispute provisions.
ASEAN should stay alert to history repeating itself, especially as it heads for a more cohesive and united community.
It is true China has maritime disputes with some ASEAN member countries, but such disputes should not stand in the way of the incremental engagement between China and ASEAN.
China and ASEAN share common interests as well as a common destiny. China is now ASEAN's largest trading partner and those associated, notably sea member countries, are expected to play a key role in the China-proposed 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, which will boost economic cooperation, trade, investment and tourism in the region.
The South China Sea is not a problem between China and ASEAN. Rather, it needs to be solved between China and involved countries bilaterally. If ASEAN allows itself to be dragged into the so-called multilateral solution on maritime disputes, it will only muddy the water, benefit a handful of countries and damage others.
China will continue to support and advocate that the South China Sea issue be addressed with the "dual-track" approach, said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Monday, referring to China's proposal that disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved bilaterally between China and claimant states -- rather than with ASEAN as a whole or the interference of other external parties -- while the maintenance of peace and stability in the region be carried out by ASEAN and China.
By playing the Sinophobia card, the Philippines has made a miscalculation. Anyone can see, China is a staunch force upholding peace and stability.
Aside from those who see no reason in siding with a troublemaker, some countries that have disputes with China have chosen to focus on cooperation, as seen in Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong's fruitful visit to China in early April.
Moreover, China has already shown its generosity, promising not to leave the Philippines out of the 21st Maritime Silk Road as some feared would happen.
The Philippines will not change China's foreign policy, nor will it be able to let China sacrifice core interests. But it should not take ASEAN hostage.