By Erick San Juan
China appears to have installed weapons including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems – on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea.
Last Wednesday, December 14, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), a US think-tank, said that its findings come despite statements by the Chinese leadership that Beijing has no intention of militarizing the islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.
AMTI said it has been tracking construction of hexagonal structures on Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi reefs in the Spratly Islands since June and July. China has already built military-length airstrips on these islands.
“These gun and probable close-in weapons systems CIWS emplacements show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea,” AMTI said. (Source: Reuters news agency)
And we thought (especially President Rody Duterte) that China has no intention of raising the already high tension in the contested area in the South China Sea but in reality China or shall we say President Xi Jinping did not stop or even hesitate in building the defense system to protect its interest in those reclaimed islands in the SCS.
We cannot blame the world’s perception that China is actually pushing towards achieving its so called ‘China dream’ no matter what, even to the point of going to war and seeking an outside enemy in the process just to unite the Chinese nation.
If the independent foreign policy that PDU30 wants to implement means engaging friendship and cooperation with China and doing away with the international law principles and arguments based on UNCLOS, we are heading for trouble.
Engaging in bilateral talks with China is not as easy as a walk in the park in which PDU30 wants to adopt to settle the territorial disputes. As what former Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs (1988-89) and Asian and Pacific Affairs (l997-1999) at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Juanito P. Jarasa writes in his article @manilatimes online – “As a member of the Philippine delegation to two high-level bilateral meetings with China regarding the South China Sea held in Beijing in May 1997 and Manila in March 1999, I saw how difficult it was to deal with China on a one-on-one basis. The Chinese wanted us to swallow hook, line, and sinker their “historic rights and indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea” while rejecting international law principles and arguments based on UNCLOS. Unless China changes its mind about the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling, I am afraid entering into bilateral negotiations with China will belike going into a cul-de-sac(dead end). Indications are strong that the South China Sea will remain as one of China’s three core national interests, along with Taiwan and Tibet.
It seems the only hope for the Philippines, and the world for that matter, is for China to realize that the “China Dream” to bury its past humiliation in the hands of Western powers and to gain respect as a leading civilized state does not lie in disregard or disrespect of the rule of law but in abiding by the time-honored ‘comitas gentium’, or comity of nations. Merriam-Webster says that since 1862, comity of nations has referred to countries bound by a courteous relationship based on mutual recognition of executive, legislative, and judicial acts. In essence, comity entails friendship and respect among countries as well as mutual civility and courtesy between them. That could be hard to achieve in today’s world beset by turmoil of various kinds but it is an ideal situation worth aspiring for.”
But this China dream could be a tool to unite China and actually Xi Jinping’s propaganda to save himself from so many angry Chinese which will soon realize that their losing their funds invested to the government.
Let us help this present administration realize that it is not easy to deal with China and put our country’s security in danger. Let us pray for our president because no matter what, any wrong decision will drag us all down and face a war unwittingly in the process.
Who said that Digong’s deal with the Marcoses is a jinx that will pull him down like anyone else who made deals with them? Just asking..