South China Sea
In a statement released by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP),the insurgent group condemns both the US and Chinese governments for “acting like bullies in their effort to fortify their military foothold in the South China Sea to the detriment of the Filipino people’s sovereignty claims over the islands and land formations and territorial waters within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.”
The CPP denounced both the Chinese and US governments for carrying out maneuvers and counter-maneuvers last March 29, while a Philippine boat delivered supplies to the Philippine outpost ship BRP Sierra Madre, stationed at the Ayungin Shoal since 1999. News reports indicate that the Chinese Coast Guard attempted to prevent the Philippine supply boat from reaching the Ayungin shoal.The group also criticized the US military for reportedly carrying out fly-bys to project and assert its power and control of the area.
The CPP further denounced the Aquino regime for playing to the US hegemonist plan to establish its permanent presence in the South China Sea by invoking US military support, seeking increased US military financing and protection. The group says that the fly-by of US jets over the Ayungin shoals last March 29 was carried out with the permission of the Philippine armed forces, although AFP officials feigned ignorance. Malacañang also pretended to be unaware of the US fly-bys when it declared that the Philippine supply boat just “somehow managed” to reach the outpost ship despite the presence of the Chinese Coast Guard ship.
The CPP claims that it has long supported the demand of the Filipino people to assert Philippine sovereignty over the small islands and land formations in the South China Sea within the country’s 200-mile economic zone. It also asserted that the group has long called for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts through diplomatic negotiations and international arbitration.
“The US imperialists have long been the biggest violators of Philippine sovereignty,” the group insists in their public statement. They said that the United States’ historical record of aggression and colonization of the Philippines is “incomparable to that of China, which has never deployed its military in the Philippines, prior to sailing its coast guard boats in Philippine territorial waters.”
The CPP notes, “The US has further entrenched itself in the Philippines. It has further strengthened its foothold by maintaining a permanent military presence in the Philippines.”
The CPP contends that further strengthening the US’ military foothold in the Philippines does not help the Philippine cause to advance sovereign claims over the South China Sea islands, formations and territorial waters. Heightening US military presence, according to them, counters the Philippines’ efforts to strengthen its sovereignty claims as it puts the Philippines under the dominance of the US military.
The group further adds, “In asserting Philippine claims while invoking US military support, the Aquino regime is actually seeking to become a protectorate of the US government, subjecting the entire country, including the international trade routes in the South China Sea, to US control. To be ‘protected’ by a bigger bully who claims to be a friend to fend off another bully is to forever be under the sway of that bigger bully.”
This is in the spirit of “Welcome” to the new Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianua. I’ll highlight the significant elements from the excellent 4,862 word article written by the Chinese Embassy in Manila’s spokesperson and deputy chief of the Political Section, Mr. Zhang Hwa, in response to the Philippine’s filing of its “memorial” to the Arbitral Tribunal.
The Chinese Embassy spokesman’s paper made ten essential points:
1) The Philippines’ push for international arbitration undermined China-Philippines relations as it disregards China’s position;
2) China does not accept the arbitration because “direct negotiations is the most common and preferred way to resolve such disputes… “ and China has successfully solved the boundary issues with 12 of its land neighbors…. 20,000 kms. Of boundary… In 2000, China and Vietnam equitably delineated the maritime boundary in the Beibu Gulf and …. signed the Agreement on Fishery Cooperation….China sees no reason to abandon such successful practices….” Refusal of arbitration is a right under international law which many invoke, denying China this right is “double standard”;
3) China wishes disputes to be settled through bilateral negotiations … “Forcing the arbitration is not conducive to the settlement … “;
4) China’s Basic Position on the South China Sea issue… “the Chinese side has always adhered to resolving relevant disputes with sovereign states directly concerned…. through consultations and negotiations. … and conforms to the consensus that China and ASEAN countries reached in the DOC (Declaration of Conduct)… “;
5) On “The Nature of China-Philippines Disputes… China…. was the first to discover, name, develop and operate on the Nansha Islands….exercised… sovereign jurisdiction….Philippines’ territory was determined by a series of international treaties,… (that) state that the border line of… .the Philippines is 118° East in longitude.… Nansha … and the Huangyan… do not lie within…”
Distance Is Not Relevant
“Some people believe that these islands and reefs are closer to the Philippines, and therefore they belong to the Philippines. This has no basis in international law. Geographical proximity has never been a criterion that determines the ownership of territory. Many countries in the world possess territories far away from their mainland or closer to other countries. .…” 6) Focuses on previous “Consensus” reached in agreements between China and the Philippines … the Joint Statement-PRC-RP Consultations on the South China Sea …. in August 1995 …. The Joint Statement between China and the Philippines on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation… in May 2000… In 2002, China and the ASEAN… signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties…. (DOC),… adhering to negotiations as the mode and not arbitration.
Territories Lost In R.P. Maps
The 7th, on the Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) issue, the paper states “The Philippines once clearly stated that the island is not within its territory. First, a series of international treaties defining the domain of the Philippine territory provide that the Huangyan Island is outside the territory of the Philippines. The then Philippine ambassador to Germany explicitly stated in 1990 in his letter to German radio amateurs that the Huangyan Island is not within the territory of the Philippines. The documents issued in 1994 by the Philippine National Mapping and Resources Authority …. all confirmed …. The Philippine official map issued in 2011 also marked the Huangyan Island outside the Philippine territorial border limits.”
The 8th point on “The Issue of Ren’ai Reef (Second Thomas Shoal)” recalls the commitments of previous Philippine government administrations to “tow away” the stranded Philippine navy derelict there. But the DFA, China states, “on March 14 openly stated the vessel ‘grounded’ 15 years ago was actually meant to occupy the reef, which proves that the Philippine side has been lying for 15 years….The sitting Philippine government was not the one 15 years ago, but as a country, the Philippines is obliged to honor its commitment. A public denial …. will make it lose credibility to the international community.” The 9th point, “Freedom and Safety of Navigation”, states that the “…South China Sea is the main sealane for China’s trade and transportation .… actions taken by China in safeguarding its sovereignty and maritime interests …. do not affect other countries’ freedom of navigation and overflight….”
South China Sea Peace
The paper ends with a Commitment of China to “a South China Sea of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation”, highlighting a measure it proposes to the harmonious climate over the shared waters: China setting up US $ 500-Million maritime cooperation fund to promote maritime cooperation, science, navigation, safety, connectivity, and combating transnational crime; and establishment of a maritime emergency hotline. It concludes: “So long as all parties earnestly implement relevant consensus, adhere to consultations and negotiations, promote practical maritime cooperation and joint development, the South China Sea will become a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. “
The winds of change in the China-Philippines relations seem to be rallying on change not only in theory but in reality. The surest sign of this was revealed in the April 2 AIM forum “Understanding 21st Century China: All Under Heaven?” sponsored by such big-named institutions as Asia Society, Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Association of the Philippines, Tufts Fletcher School Alumni Association-Philippines, the hangers-on Ramos Peace and Development Foundation Inc. (where did FVR get the money?), and Former Senior Government Officials (hangers-on to hangers-on-governments dragged along by Uncle Sam). Three speakers highlighted the forum: Prof. Marwyn Samuels of Syracuse University ; Dr. Liping Zheng of the Asian Development Bank; and Chito Sta. Romana , the fountainhead of wisdom on China for Filipinos.
Public reactions at the forum were emailed to us by Internet journalist Jerry Quibilan: from Alex to Jerry : “I noticed something very different from the forum today compared to the forum of anti-China activist Raffy Alunan, Roilo Golez and President Ramos also at the AIM in December … They got ex-commodores and ex-commanders of the US 7th Fleet to tell us Filipinos we have to prepare for war with China and shed our blood …We got videos on recycled airplanes and ships to buy for the coming war with China… videos on the Korean war where 10,000 Filipinos allegedly killed 40,000 Chinese. Today President Ramos laughed at the Philippines’ decision to buy 12 new jet planes …. That shook me up. My impression is that Raffy Alunan and President Ramos have noticeably lost their belligerence … They were as nice to China as apple pie. Both said Filipinos should try to understand China and restore normal relations soonest. I am quite puzzled to say the least.”
I suggested an answer to Puzzled Alex: The P20-billion deal to buy the used FA-50 from South Korea has already been signed and sealed; and so the syndicate can now relax the propaganda scare-mongering. Then came this quip from one reactor in the forum, Wilson Lee Flores: “We were colonized four times–the Spanish, the British, the Americans, and the Japanese … Filipinos were killed and …. plundered. On the other hand, what have the Chinese done in over a thousand years here? They just traded and gave us siopao, siomai, mami, and lomi.”
(Tune in to “Sulo ng Pilipino” on 1098 AM, dwAD, Tuesday to Friday, 5 p.m.; catch GNN’s Talk News TV with HTL on Destiny Cable Channel 8, SkyCable Channel 213, and http://www.gnntv-asia.com, Saturday, 8:00 p.m. and replay Sunday, 8 a.m., this week on “Meralco siphoning capital out of the country” with Butch Junia and “Consumer protection groups: Unite!”; visit http://newsulongpilipino.blogspot.com; text your reactions to 0917-8658664)
By Erick San Juan
There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others. – Niccolo Machiavelli
LIKE I used to say, if the program is on and the only thing the global elites can do is to postpone the inevitable global war and precisely to their advantage. And so what can countries (like the Philippines) do to seize the opportunity of getting what they deserve in engaging with alliances? As a sovereign nation, we have to gather our act together so that we will get what is due us and not to repeat the bad part of our history.
Just like a broken record player, I’ve been repeating that we must learn from our past experiences and we should not forget how we were screwed by the global elites in dragging us into a war not of our liking. In the process we were left behind after the war and it was Japan, the perceived enemy of America who received the all out support from the United States government.
Now that the Philippines is being programmed to be the epicenter of war in the South China Sea (SCS) and in the Pacific, US State Secretary Kerry made a lip service recently that the US will give an all out support to our country just in case of war. But remember the several times that we had a near confrontation with China, all we heard from Uncle Sam was that the US will remain neutral and will not interfere with the dispute between China and the Philippines and their only concern is the freedom of navigation in the SCS.
But when Japan had the same predicament with China in the disputed area in the East China Sea, plus the recent establishment of Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) by China, we witnessed how the US military showed support to Japan. The mere fact that the US government even reminded Beijing that there is a US-Japan security pact in place and that the contested islands are part of that treaty that the US will give support to Japan in case of an attack from China. It is very clear that after all that support we gave as a loyal ally to US, we never had the same treatment as what US has been giving to Japan.
This only shows that our government should make it clear and be firm as to the extent of our relationship with Washington, especially now that there is an ongoing talks about a new “access agreement” on the presence of US military in the country.
If the US is really serious not to make us just cannon fodders, the US congress should pass a law (like what support they gave to Japan) that there will be an automatic retaliation and support from US in case of Chinese (or other countries) attack and aggression to our country.
In these exciting times, let us be very wary and always on the lookout when it comes to the country’s security and foreign policy, like what we have cited in our past two articles, the drums of war are getting louder and louder and the possibility of a regional conflict right here in our backyard is real. Any miscalculation and possible false flag operation can lead us to another destruction whether we like it or not. This is the reality! Our so called leaders allowed us to be the US military doormat in the region and like a huge magnet, we attract Uncle Sam’s enemies in the process.
The only hope that this country have with the present administration is to cast a fair deal with the US. If they want our country’s support in their pivot to Asia, they must put it in writing approved by their US Congress. That will be the moment that we can have a semblance of peace of mind especially if we will be armed like real warriors and not like toy soldiers. If not God forbid!
May our leaders conscience bother them. I believe in Karma!
by Erick San Juan
“NOTHING in China happens overnight,” Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, the director of Asia-Pacific programs at the United States Institute of Peace, said. “Any move you see was planned and prepared for years, if not more. So obviously this maritime issue is very important to China.”The maritime issue referred here is the contested area in the South China Sea and there is another one with Japan in the East China Sea. These two areas in the region, believed to be likened to a ticking bomb just waiting for a trigger to ignite it and explode into a world war in the process.It is quite obvious by now that one of the reasons why China and the other claimants are restive in the disputed area in the South China Sea is about oil (and natural gas).
And maybe the so-called freedom of navigation that Washington has been insisting that China has to abide with, by not bullying its neighbors.But what about the maritime issue of China with Japan? In an article by Perry Diaz of Global Balita – Xi Jinping’s ‘Pax Sinica’, he wrote : With no economic value that’s worth fighting for, it makes one wonder what do these eight uninhabited small islands and islets have that is making China go gaga over them? Could it be that there is something else that China wants that is of far greater value than these desolate specks of land in the middle of East China Sea?
If China gained control of the Senkaku group of islands, which is 114 nautical miles west of Miyako Island, she would be in a position to control or block the Miyako Strait, which connects the East China Sea to the Philippine Sea… and the Pacific Ocean beyond.Like in the case of the Luzon Strait – “the most likely route for Chinese submarines into the wider Pacific Ocean is through the Luzon Strait, which is situated between Taiwan and the Philippines. It provides direct access into the Philippine Sea.
The Luzon Strait is a safer access point than those that lie north between Taiwan and Japan because the Philippines does not have an anti-submarine warfare capability and Taiwan’s anti-submarine capability is relatively limited, especially when compared to Japan’s. Furthermore, U.S. conventional forces are not stationed in Taiwan or the Philippines like they are in South Korea and Japan.” (PH Sea, Luzon Strait Key to China Nuke Ambitions, Stratfor, re-published @manila times online)
The geostrategic plan of China through its People’s Liberation Army Navy, is to become a naval power in the very near future is being manifested today with Beijing’s relationship with its neighbors and most recently with Japan.“Last October 31, 2013, China’s state-run Global Times published an article, saying that escalating tensions between China and Japan over territorial claims to the Senkaku Islands could ignite a war. It said that Beijing was preparing for a “worst-case” scenario of military conflict over the disputed islands.
It seems that China’s “worst-case” scenario is a deliberate attempt to fulfill Xi’s “Chinese Dream,” which is the revival of imperial China — or Pax Sinica (Chinese Peace) – that had maintained Chinese hegemony in Asia during the reign of the Ming dynasty. “The great revival of the Chinese nation is the greatest Chinese Dream,” Xi said before taking office in November 2012.Surmise it to say, China’s carefully orchestrated actions in the past two years are leading to war against Japan… and ultimately against the United States, with the goal of ending American hegemony – Pax Americana — in the Pacific.” (Perry Diaz)
Basically all these preparations by China lead to its goal of countering the move by the United States in its pivot to Asia-Pacific. Although there are other plans like “Operating from the East China Sea, South China Sea or Yellow Sea, Chinese submarines will soon have a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent against Russia and India. But the Chinese submarine fleet will still need to access the open waters beyond the first island chain to maintain a sea-based deterrent against Western Europe and the United States.
Until China builds a nuclear submarine fleet (with well-trained crew and support) stealthy enough to routinely attempt access into the Philippine Sea, or submarine-launched ballistic missiles with enough range to target the continental United States, it will have to rely on its land-based strategic nuclear forces as the primary nuclear deterrent against the United States.” (Stratfor)There seems to be no stopping China’s PLA Navy with its orchestrated moves in the East and South China Sea. It is really a full-speed ahead scenario and anyone caught in the way, might lead to a mutually assured destruction.
- ADIZs likely for South China, Yellow seas: report (wantchinatimes.com)
- Envoy says China has right to set another air zone (boston.com)
- Chinese Aircraft Carrier’s Debut: Gunboat In South China Sea? – Analysis (eurasiareview.com)
- Envoy Says China Has Right to Set Another Air Zone (world.time.com)
- Envoy says China has right to set another air zone (kansascity.com)
- China’s ADIZ: South China Sea Next? – Analysis (eurasiareview.com)
- Defying China, US bombers fly into East China Sea zone – Reuters (reuters.com)
- China’s ADIZ: South China Sea Next? – Analysis (albanytribune.com)
- Envoy says China has right to set another air zone (sfgate.com)
- Envoy says China has right to set another air zone (metronews.ca)
by Erick San Juan
THE New York Times Sunday magazine cover story (October 27) – “A Sea of Trouble,” with the second heading “A Game of Shark and Minnow,” is actually an eye-opener for all of us especially to our leaders. Why is this so?
The New York Times story cited the following: In a remote corner of the South China Sea, 105 nautical miles from the Philippines, lies a submerged reef the Filipinos call Ayungin Shoal.
In most ways it resembles the hundreds of other reefs, islands, rock clusters and cays that collectively are called the Spratly Islands. But Ayungin is different. In the reef’s shallows there sits a forsaken ship, manned by eight Filipino troops whose job is to keep China in check.Yes what we have in the contested area is an eight-manned ship, a dilapidated one, actually “a World War II-era ship called the Sierra Madre, which the Philippine government ran aground on the reef in 1999 and has since maintained as a kind of post-apocalyptic military garrison.
The small detachment of Filipino troops stationed there are struggling to survive extreme mental and physical desolation. And this same decaying ship could be the next battleground between China and our country, whether we like it or not. “The Sierra Madre at one time was the U.S.S. Harnett County, built as a tank-landing ship for World War II and then repurposed as a floating helicopter and speedboat hub in the rivers of Vietnam. In 1970, the U.S. gave the ship to theSouth Vietnamese, and in 1976. It was passed on to the Philippines. But nobody had ever taken the time to strip all of the communications gear or even old U.S. logbooks and a fleet guide from 1970.” (Ibid)Recently, the Filipino troops manning the Sierra Madre were given a power point presentation of the real situation in the contested area particularly in Ayungin. Just imagine the magnitude of the role these men have in the whole region that will have a great impact in the confluence of events particularly in geopolitics.
Unfortunately, China through “Maj. Gen. Zhang Zhaozhong, of China’s People’s Liberation Army, said in a television interview in May, using the Chinese term for Scarborough. (That there are three different names for the same set of uninhabitable rocks tells you much of what you need to know about the region.) He described a “cabbage strategy,” which entails surrounding a contested area with so many boats —fishermen, fishing administration ships, marine surveillance ships, navy warships — that “the island is thus wrapped layer by layer like a cabbage.”There can be no question that the cabbage strategy is in effect now at Ayungin and has been at least since May.
General Zhang, in his interview several months ago, listed Ren’ai Shoal (the Chinese name for Ayungin) in the P.L.A.’s “series of achievements” in the South China Sea. He had already put it in the win>> column, even though eight Filipino marines still live there. He also seemed to take some pleasure in the strategy. Of taking territory from the Philippines, he said: “We should do more such things in the future. For those small islands, only a few troopers are able to station on each of them, but there is no food or even drinking water there. If we carry out the cabbage strategy, you will not be able to send food and drinking water onto the islands. Without the supply for one or two weeks, the troopers stationed there will leave the islands on their own.
Once they have left, they will never be able to comeback.” (Ibid)The PLA’s cabbage operation in Ayungin is a clear sign how desperate they are to occupy the area, first in Ayungin and before we know it, the whole group of islands known as Spratlys. And the only thing we have there manning the “Dangerous Ground” (a reference made to Spratlys by navigators since the 18th century) is the Sierra Madre with our troops miserably hanging on to what was left of the vintage ship.I just could not imagine that in the midst of all of these huge funds misused by the chosen few, there in the middle of the sea, our Filipino troops trying to survive in order to protect our sovereignty.
Any sane person will ask after reading this cover story of the NYT magazine: Is the Philippines’ present administration numb on the plight of the eight Filipinos living (or slowly dying) there inside the Sierra Madre? And if not, why the hell are they are not doing anything?All the rhetoric and doublespeak about military modernization through the controversial Malampaya funds to address the South China Sea issue are all BS if such a simple thing as this will not be resolved to save what is left of our sovereignty.China’s cabbage op is already in place now and through this scheme, any miscalculated move will always be perceived as an act of provocation. A provocation that might lead to a regional conflict in the process. God forbid.
- The loneliest outpost in the Armed Forces (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Taiwan Expands Military Base in Contested Waters (theepochtimes.com)
- “Yolanda” kicks out Chinese from Ayungin Reef, Philippine Marines on grounded ship safe “Yolanda” kicks out Chinese from Ayungin Reef, Philippine Marines on grounded ship safe Read more posts and click here (h16613.com)
- A Game of Shark and Minnow (politicozara.wordpress.com)
- China’s aircraft carrier heading to South China Sea (stripes.com)
- Can Typhoon Recovery Help Resolve Conflict? (climateandsecurity.org)
- ‘Yolanda’ kicks out Chinese from Ayungin Reef, Philippine Marines on grounded ship safe (jcsmarinenews.wordpress.com)
- Philippines Armed Forces to build pier, harbor near Spratlys (stratrisks.com)
- A Game Of Shark And Minnow (nytimes.com)
- Editorial : Not So Perfect Alibi? (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
by: Erick San Juan
WHEN former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the East-West center in Hawaii in October 2010, she emphasized three key elements of the US engagement in Asia. The US’s relationship with its allies, their relations with partners across the Asia pacific region and US participation in the region’s multilateral institutions such as the ASEAN, APEC and EAS. (Source: China vs US: Military Conflict in the South China Sea, The World Outline)
Since then, there has been much talk of the mighty Uncle Sam’s return to Asia-Pacific region and even referred to himself (President Barack Obama) as ‘America’s first Pacific President’ without even consulting first his history books of America’s past leaders who deserves the title better.
With so much rhetoric and doublespeak of the real intentions of this pivot to the region, the truth of the matter is, they never left.
“They have maintained a forward military, political and economic presence in Asia as well as Europe since the Second World War. In short, they have pursued a political and economic open door policy underpinned by the ability to project force outside their own western hemisphere.” (Ibid) And in this case, the classic example of what I am trying to emphasize here is the US military presence in the Philippines. #OpinYon #opinion
read cont | http://bit.ly/19gODur
- US and China tussle for trade dominance at APEC (channelnewsasia.com)
- APEC should lead a more open world economy, play a bigger role: President Xi said (rightways.wordpress.com)
- Disputes Cloud Asia-Pacific Summit Focus On Trade (theepochtimes.com)
- China, Russia to join forces in Asia Pacific (thebricspost.com)
- Southeast Asia in global spotlight with APEC, ASEAN & East Asia summits (indrus.in)
- Disputes cloud Asia-Pacific summit focus on trade (sfgate.com)
- John Kerry: U.S. commitment to Asia strong despite Obama’s absence (upi.com)
- Russia’s economics minister: Global economy shifts focus to Asia-Pacific region (rbth.asia)
- Russia sees a peaceful, stable and developed Asia-Pacific region (indrus.in)
- Rise in Investment to Continue in Asia Pacific (virtual-strategy.com)