WWIII WILL NOT START OVER A WAR WITH CHINA IN PHILIPPINE WATERS OR TAIWAN BASED ON CHINA'S LIMITED ALLIANCE
In June 2019, a Chinese militia ship sank a Filipino boat in the South China Sea in an act of aggression that left the Philippines looking weak and powerless. The Chinese Navy has boldly sailed its aircraft carrier and escort ships through the Philippines’ Sibutu Passage without prior permission, violating Philippine sovereignty. China is claiming almost all of the territory of the South China Sea that includes the West Philippine Sea within the nine-dash line that it has drawn around the edge of the South China Sea.
The Scarborough Shoal, the Spratlys and Pag-asa groups of islands and other islands are well within the Philippines’ 12-nautical mile territorial sea and the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. In the face of Chinese claims, this right has been upheld by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. In a historic decision, the court declared “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line.” “Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the tribunal found that it could — without delimiting a boundary — declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.”
China does not recognize the international arbitration decision and did not attend the hearings. Instead, it continued to build up its military power on several islands claimed by the Philippines, installing long-range surface to air missiles and building structures and aircraft runways. In a belated response, the Philippines began in 2020 to build up infrastructure on Pag-asa Island, one of its biggest inhabited islands on the Spratly Islands.
The heightened tensions first emerged over the announcement in late March, in the same week that 1Sambayan was founded, that Chinese vessels were anchored near Whitsun Reef, a feature of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. The Chinese government initially stated that the boats were fishing vessels sheltering in the boomerang shaped atoll from the brunt of a storm. While some vessels departed, others remained anchored in at Whitsun Reef for over a month.
In this Feb. 6, 2020, file photo, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. gestures during a senate hearing in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)
Tensions sharpened further on April 27, when the Philippine Coast Guard reported that seven Chinese vessels were anchored near the Sabina shoal in the northeastern portion of the Spratly islands. After the Coast Guard confronted the ships, the Chinese vessels departed the area.
Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin issued a statement that revealed how far tensions had mounted. He declared that any attack on a Philippine vessel, “however small, as long as it is a government vessel, is an attack on the US, triggering the MDT [Mutual Defense Treaty] and that response is global.”
Locsin was referring to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Philippines that states that an attack on either party was an attack on both. He was stating that if shots were fired in the South China Sea the result would be a global war. Far from urging caution, however, he went on, “We must have the courage to go where probably we cannot go back from.”
On May 3, Locsin escalated further, issuing a vulgar tweet, “China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see... O... GET THE F..K OUT.” He went on to refer to China as “an ugly oaf.”
Locsin belatedly issued a public apology, not to China, but to his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, declaring “I just don’t want to lose my friendship with the most elegant mind in diplomacy with manners to match.”
Japan, through its Self-Defense Forces (SDF), announced that it would be providing a $US1.1 million defence aid package to the Philippines, supplying the Philippine military with non-lethal aid, and Japanese troops would be providing Filipino forces with training. The deal marks the first time that the SDF is supplying military equipment as a form of official development assistance.