Manila, Philippines — United States intelligence and foreign policy experts said America was just using the Philippines to create the conditions of potential conflict with the Chinaz even if it knew it could not fight and engage China and win.

“[The US] is using [the Philippines]. You are a tool, nothing but a tool. And when the tool ceases to be useful, we will discard you,” says one of the experts, Scott Ritter, during an online media briefing early Thursday morning (Manila time) at the US National Press Club in Washington.

“It’s high time the Filipino people pressure their government to start sitting down and engaging the Chinese government responsibly…[because] China is not your enemy. China is your neighbor. China is your friend,” said Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and former United Nations Special Commission weapons inspector

And since Beijing does not want war, the Philippines can engage China in diplomacy, “a skill set America has long since lost.”

“But the Filipinos, the Philippine people can reignite this, to relearn it, to use this skill to prevent a war,” said Ritter, who was deployed to Subic in 1986 as a platoon commander.

“Grow up and act responsibly. Take control of your own future. America is not here to help you,” he added.

Col. Richard Black, a retired military officer, agreed that it was time for the Philippines “to use diplomacy and to attempt to resolve the issue.”

“Whatever you do, do not simply become a tool of the United States and be led into an armed conflict that ends up in disaster for the Filipino people. Because if you do, you will break the heart of a whole lot of us who just dearly love the Philippines and, and the people of the islands,” said Black, a retired politician who served in the Virginia legislature.