China should not push its luck at West Philippine Sea

SANTIAGO, CHILE - NOVEMBER 22: President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping talks during a meeting in the Patio de Las Camelias at Palacio de La Moneda on November 22, 2016, Santiago, Chile. (Photo by Sebastián Vivallo Oñate/Agencia Makro/LatinContent/Getty Images)

In response to Washington’s position against China’s sovereignty claims over the West Philippine sea, the Communist state reiterated its official stand saying sovereign claims have a “long basis in history” and it “conforms with international law.”

Chinese reactions came after United States Anthony Blinken called Philippine foreign secretary Teddy Locsin who recently filed a formal diplomatic protest against China’s law directing its Coast Guard to shoot any vessel that would go near its claimed islands. Most of China’s island claims are within the economic zone of the Philippines, a fact undisputed even by the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea or UNCLOS.

THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH CHINA– its statements are at best, lies and do not conform with its true conduct in the region. Its historical claims are based on nothing and those islands it now claims as theirs are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. How then do these claims conform with international law?

China also says that the US must leave China and the rest of the claimant countries alone to avoid possible outbreak of conflict. Such a statement is typical of a bully who does not want another bully to interfere with its actions against weaker or smaller states. The activities undertaken by China are violations already of Philippine territorial sovereignty and the UNCLOS already resolved this by junking China’s nine dash line claims.

The US position is now clear— it will assist the Philippines in an event of an attack by an aggressor country. This includes possibly further occupation of islands and islets within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. China–make no mistake about the resolve of the US on this. A naval war against China is one such event that the US is visibly waiting to happen.

Philippine president Rodrigo Roa Duterte urges China to respect a code of conduct that now prevails relations among claimant states. How will a state trust China when it issues a law that threatens armed aggression against any state vessel that goes near its military island installations.

China should not boast. Their Communist leaders must not think they are already at par with the US armed forces. China must learn from its history. When China was growing as a global trade giant during the 18th century, its growth was severely impaired when the British armada smashed Chinese junks to oblivion. Yes, China has all the sophisticated war machine at its disposal now, even nuclear weapons. What China’s forces lack is combat experience. It may have the numbers (a million standing army) but most of its units are at best, only good at suppressing the rights of its own people. China has not won any single war in modern history. It should not push its luck or test its fate at the West Philippine Sea.



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