Against China claiming the entire South China Sea with impunity and disregarding even our own and our neighboring country’s respective 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), we really find ourselves helpless and in dire need of assistance.
Thank goodness there is such a word as empathy, as a much stronger nation than us, Japan, equally being cowed by the same emerging super-power, China, in the East China Sea over a string of islets known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, administered by the former, but claimed by the latter as also theirs, is feeling the same vexation as us and has shown affinity with our situation.
While Japan is no easy pushover of China’s hegemony over territories the latter claim are historically theirs, it has shown, however, compassion and concern for our cause especially knowing how disadvantaged we are.
Thus, Japan has pledged to help strengthened Philippines’ maritime defense capabilities if only to secure and safeguard the territorial integrity of the country, to include the 200-mile EEZ.
Indeed, this is a welcome gesture especially in view of the fact that, time and again, the US has explained that it won’t take any position on the sovereignty of disputed features in the South China Sea, favoring instead a diplomatic resolution of the dispute.
Yes, we have the newly signed bilateral Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), but as it talks about the countries’ commitment to mutual defense and security, it does not reveal any provision that guarantees automatic American military intervention at the event there is military conflict between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea.
If Japan, after all, is taking the cudgels for the US in helping us deal with our territorial dispute with China, then let it be. It is going to be a formidable ally.
It is even best that Japan goes back to militarized status where its Self-Defense Forces could use force other than when Japan is under direct attack so it could contain China before it finishes building up airfields and other military installations that will make it the undisputed bully/oppressor in this part of the world and its might ready to pounce at any country not towing the line of its capricious design.
Not only that. Having the military superiority in the South China Sea will make China also the sole repository of the natural resources found in the area – both in and under the sea.
So what then is the use of the US pivot to Asia if China monopolizes the use of the South China Sea for its own selfish advantage and the US and its stronger allies in the region can’t protect the interest of its weak but loyal friends?