China may be playing cat and mouse with Japan in the East China Sea, but definitely in the South China Sea, China is the unchallenged intruder that deliberately does what it pleases them – from poaching in territories claimed by other nations, to forcefully arrogating unto themselves Exclusive Economic Zones belonging to other countries as defined by the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), to building military command posts/fortresses, and lately Beijing’s placement of a mega oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam and the alleged construction of an artificial island at Mischief Reef (Panganiban Reef), which is about 120 miles from Palawan, that will serve as a military base that could accommodate fighter planes and other sophisticated weaponry.
We have known about China’s military-related activities in the South China Sea, but what is alarming now is that it is getting closer to our shores.
This only explains how bold and aggressive China has become, flexing their military muscles on the poor and weak nations in the region, blatantly defying UNCLOS and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas (ITLOS), even oblivious to the fact that most ASEAN nations are allies of the U.S. and sticking to their historical belief that most of the South China Sea belongs to them.
The silence of the most powerful nation on earth, the U.S.A., about the military build-up and other activities, past and present in the South China Sea by China, seem to have given the giant nation a nod to continue their devious plans, for as long as the sea lanes remain open for international vessels to ply.
But the situation seems to be getting out of control as China is expanding with impunity not only violating territorial rights of other countries but ensuring that the energy resources under the sea belong to them.
The question now is whether or not the U.S. will allow this to happen.
Is this why the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was immediately established?
The EDCA is an agreement between the Philippines and the United States which is envisioned to advance the implementation of the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
Will EDCA really solve the maritime problem we have with China? Will it stop China from bullying and threatening our people and country as it is blatantly doing now?
What will stop China then from controlling the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea)?
Nothing and not even the U.S. will be crazy enough to station their warships in the area to halt China’s hegemony in the region.
That seems to be the gloomy reality ahead that the South China Sea is going to be China’s bastion in this part of the world.