Treachery and Blackmail
by Erick San Juan
Former DILG Sec. Rafael Alunan III shared in his Facebook account a game changer article of Ms. Yun Sun, a fellow with East Asia Program at Stimson Center entitled, ‘China’s New Calculation in SCS.’ She claimed that China’s unilateral actions in asserting it’s claims in South China Sea have driven regional tensions to a new high. Sun said that China’s well calculated moves are motivated by multiple internal and external factors.
“These include boosting Pres. Xi Jinping’s prestige and authority for his domestic reform agenda, along with an assumption that the US is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY TO INTERVENE at this moment in time. Other than the overt actions to assert its claims in the South China Sea, official statements and legal studies analysis within China also reflect a RECALIBRATED DETERMINATION to uphold the country’s controversial 9-dashed line in SCS.”
“From a chinese perspective, the most transparent and direct explanation of China’s rising assertiveness in the South China Sea is simple. China believes that its past unilateral restraint has done nothing to improve China’s position regarding SCS disputes and these inactions have in fact resulted in othet claimant countries strengthening their presence and claims. Therefore, for China to improve it’s position in the current climate or for future negotiations, it must first change the status quo through ALL AVAILABLE MEANS NECESSARY.”
“China prefers to utilize civilian and paramilitary approaches but does not reject MILITARY COERCION if required. An advanced position and certain exclusive privilege in the SCS are both believed to be indispensable for China’s aspiration to become a ‘strong maritime power’, a key task stipulated by the 18th Party Congress in 2012 and a policy personally endorsed by Pres. Xi. While China’s aspirations for a ‘blue water navy’ and naval expansion face multiple choke points along its east coast from Japan down to the Philippines, the SCS is considered to offer China a much larger and less constrained maritime domain for naval maneuvers.”
Sun cited the timing of China’s policy to change the status quo and pursue a strong maritime power status has existed and that the timing of China’s most recent actions is closely associated with Chinese domestic politics to strengthen Pres. Xi’s domestic power base especially his reported fight against corruption where the oppositors claim that Xi is also stained with graft and corruption as exposed by Bloomberg.
“Therefore, Xi needs as much foreign policy credits as possible to build his strong man image and defuse internal criticisms of his various domestic agendas.”
“Last but not least, China is behaving assertively in SCS because it believes it can. This assessment is not only based on China’s growing military capacity which dwarfs the capabilities of all other South East Asian claimant countries combined, but also on A STRONG CONVICTION IN CHINA THAT THE U.S. WILL NOT USE IT’S HARD POWER TO COUNTER CHINESE ACTIONS. China has watched closely the U. S. hesitation about military intervention in Syria, also in Ukraine and draws the conclusion that the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DOES NOT WANT TO INVOLVE ITSELF IN A MILITARY CONFLICT. It is further believed that there is NO DESIRE WITHIN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FOR A POLICY LEGACY THAT INCLUDES A CONFLICT WITH CHINA.”
Sun added, “Having said that, China does recognize the difference between Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO and the Philippines which is a U.S. ally. However, when China seized control of the Scarborough Shoal in 2012, the U.S. DID NOTHING. Furthermore, as Madame Fu Ying, chairperson of China’s Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, pointed out recently at the Singapore’s Shangri-la Dialogue, the dispute between China and Vietnam HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE U.S. The implied message is that Vietnam is not even a U.S. ally and the LIKELIHOOD OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION ON BEHALF OF VIETNAM IS EXTREMELY REMOTE, if not non-existent.”
Sun concluded that even if the UN international tribunal supports the Philippine claims, China will not accept the result and it will be very difficult and impossible for the UN court to enforce its ruling. “Whether others like it or not, China is getting what it wants.”
Thanks to the timely open-secret deal of businessman Manny V. Pangilinan with China’s CNOOC regarding the joint exploration of the Sampaguita oil and gas field. It was a long delayed joint project of CNOOC with Forum Energy and MVP’s Philex Petroleum with the blessing of the Philippine government. It will now push thru as per news report. It was allegedly a deal that was almost forfeited due to the bullying of China. It was also an open-secret that the ABC5 TV network of MVP exposed PNoy’s administration’s ‘deal’ at Malampaya ( televised twice and exposed by Luchie Cruz Valdes) where billions of pesos were lost during the time of GMA and during the watch of PNoy. P137 billion was on the record of the treasury. But during the senate hearing chaired by Sen. Ralph Recto, national treasurer Rosalia de Leon said that there was no cash on hand and possibly the funds were co-mingled with other funds. Sounds familiar, just like what happened to the sale of Fort Bonifacio for the AFP modernization.
According to pundits, this was the reason why China stopped bullying us despite the reported secret arrangement between the U.S. and China as interpreted by Yun Sun of Stimson Center.
Even the chicken hawks at the DFA suddenly change their stand and it’s priority now is to ensure peace in the West Philippine Sea amid rising territorial conflict with China.(PDI 7/28/14) According to Amando Doronila of PDI, the Pew Center just conducted a study in 44 countries that this year, in all 11 Asian nations polled, roughly half or more say they are concerned that the disputes between China and her neighbors will lead to a military conflict. As reported by Agence France-Presse (7/28/14), found that 93% Filipinos were most concerned, including the Japanese, Vietnamese and South Koreans. In China, the poll showed that 62% of chinese were worried that the row could lead to war.
The release of the study is suspect. We have to be wary as to the hidden agenda of powers behind the scene. Will PNoy suffer the same fate like what happened to GMA who signed several deals with China?
Let’s wait for the possible confluence of events to unfold. It could be ominous that PNoy’s SONA (State of the Nation Address) last Monday was like a farewell speech especially that the month of August has been a bad omen to the Aquino family. So many phenomena of tragedies happened in the past and could be the reason why the Aquino sisters are really worried and crying. It is also called by the Chinese as ‘ghost month’.
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