Consider this as a sequel to my previous blog: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/open-bases-for-us-japan-forces/
As top diplomats of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are coming together in Brunei to discuss regional issues, the same contentious topic will take center stage again, among other things, which is that of easing tension and finding solution to the impasse of sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea contested by small neighboring countries in the region and economic giant China that is claiming the area almost in its entirety.
The Philippines is seen by China as the most pugnacious among the small claimant nations in the region not only for strongly criticizing China’s expansionist move of bullying and occupying territories that belongs to us because of its proximity, but also of seeking and accepting help from allies, like the US and Japan, and providing them now with possible access to the country’s military bases.
China has resisted, time and again, ASEAN efforts to create a legally-binding code to govern conduct on the sea, and analysts say Beijing will continue to oppose any agreement weakening its claims. Proof to this are the existing structures erected and more, presumably, to be built in the South China Sea and the massive and ominous presence of Chinese military and paramilitary vessels in the area.
Now Chinese state media has accused the Philippines of relying on the US as its “patron” and using the ASEAN group of nations as an “accomplice” in the violation of its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and warned of a potential “counterstrike”.
“If the Philippines continues to provoke China… a counterstrike will be hard to avoid,” said an editorial in the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.
More aggressive and terrorizing words, indeed!
But, since when has claiming and protecting what is legally yours in the eyes of the international community been a provocative gesture?
The editorial went on to say that the Philippines was guilty of “seven sins,” including the “illegal occupation” of parts of the Spratly Islands, strengthening control over disputed coral reefs, inviting foreign companies to develop oil and gas resources in disputed waters, and promoting the “internationalization” of the sea.
Since when has conforming and obeying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) been a crime?
International law prescribes that countries with sea territories are entitled to claim and area 250 kilometers from its maritime baseline as part of its economic zone. However, China holds a different view on this issue and this is where disputes with nearby countries evolve
The need for friendly allies to support us as we confront the selfish and wicked intentions of China in this part of the world has never been urgent and timely as it is now.