NOW that the tension between us and the People’s Republic of China is deescalating following an agreement to set aside their respective protests concerning occupation of the controversial Scarborough Shoal, it is time for us to go on a diplomatic offensive by forging closer ties with fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) member countries, especially those who have similar claims in Scarborough and the Spratly Islands.
Since we cannot afford a confrontation with China, even with U.S. backing, our best chance to resolve the problem with China concerning the disputed areas in West Philippine Sea is through diplomacy.
We have to continue urging the ASEAN and China to update the Code of Conduct that would govern the behavior of all interested parties.
It is foolish for us to militarize the issue because we don’t have the capacity to fight China with our meager navy and non-existent air force. There is also very little chance that our supposed ally, the U.S., could assist us in a timely fashion due to the vast distance that its armed forces have to cover before reaching our shores and this simply means that we would have already suffered the consequences of war before they could help.
We also have to consider a more likely scenario that the U.S. won’t even lift a finger to help as they are not obliged by any defense treaty to automatically do so. The U.S. is deeply indebted to China and its economy is tied up with them. It is reasonable to suppose that they won’t choose us over China, their major trading partner.
We should not allow the U.S. to make as willing pawns to fight a proxy war with China besides I firmly believe that China won’t occupy any part of the Philippines, including Scarborough and Spratly’s. It is not in their character to expand their territory.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher aptly explained that “while China has always been vigilant about its borders and has occupied Tibet, it has not historically been an expansionist power with territorial designs on its neighbors.”
Even if it is building up its forces, there is currently little cause for alarm.
According to the magazine Economist “…China is far less formidable… Its armed forces have had no real combat experience for more than 30 years. The capacity of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for complex joint operations in a hostile environment is untested.
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