Over a Cup of Tea
Heidi M. Pascual
Publisher & Editor
2006 Journalist of the year
for the State of Wisconsin
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The Fight for South China Sea
The Philippines lodged a formal complaint against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), questioning the legality of China’s “Nine-dash line” argument (a historical ownership of the SCS). The
Philippines argued that it is invalid because it violates the UNCLOS agreements about exclusive economic zones and territorial seas. China
refused to participate in the court hearings, stressing that bilateral negotiation to resolve border disputes must be used. When the arbitration
court ruled against China in 2016, China did not honor the decision, rejecting it as “null” and emphasizing it is sovereignty issue instead. Several
countries including France, Germany and the United Kingdom recognized the PCA decision.
Modern David and Goliath
The Philippines couldn’t do anything since then, because it has no military capability to fight China. However, it was still a victory for my native
country, as the international tribunal ruled in its favor. In 2019, China’s president Xi Jinping made it clear to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
that China does not recognize nor will abide by the court’s ruling. The Goliath kept on bullying David and/or offering financial assistance for
infrastructure projects and other economic ventures.
This year, however, is different. The superpowers have been conducting freedom of navigation exercises in South China Sea. The power-flexing
is evident and all eyes are drawn in the region because we don’t want war to happen. But we’re looking at China against many countries opposed
to its Goliath stance. The United States recently sent two battle-ready nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (The USS Ronald Reagan and the USS
Nimitz) in the region, In an apparent sow of military force. This move of the United States has emboldened several countries opposed to China’s
We have to look at this situation with extreme care and deep understanding of what are possibilities. Is war possible? Yes, according to
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Morrison thinks that unless current tensions in South China deescalate, war between China and the
United States is not impossible.
Take note that China has angered a lot of nations for what it did when it reclaimed areas in portions of the region and converted them as
“Chinese” administrative areas with airports.
We notice significant media reports pointing to possible war due to this south China Sea dispute.
*From countercurrents.org: On 6 October, 2020, foreign ministers of USA, India, Australia and Japan gathered in Tokyo to participate in the
second Quad security dialogue, a strategic forum aimed at containing China.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aggressively said: “…Our military has been very active in the region, ensuring that we have a presence so that
we can ensure that there is, in fact, a capacity for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
” On the role of the Quad countries, he stated: “once we’ve institutionalized what we’re doing, the four of us together, we can begin to build out a
true security framework, a fabric that can counter the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party presents to all of us.”
*From The Street Journal: Chinese military accuses US of ‘provocative actions’ in the South China Sea, By Reuters and Karen Ruiz For Dailymail.
9 October 2020: China has demanded the US ‘control and restrict’ its naval operations in the South China sea after a US guided missile
destroyer entered waters around the disputed Paracel Islands without permission. A spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army
accused the US of flexing its military muscle after the USS John McCain was spotted sailing into the China’s territorial waters on Friday.
‘It is a naked navigational hegemony and military provocation,’ Colonel Zhang Nandong said in a statement.
*From Inquirer.Net: The United States will maintain its presence in the South China Sea despite ballistic missile tests by China in the area which
appeared to be a warning to the US, an American military official said on Thursday (Aug. 27).
Several Southeast Asian countries have claims over parts of South China Sea, which the People’s Republic of
China has claimed and occupied as its own. The claimant countries are, of course, interested in their rights over
lands and water located in their territories. Fishing is a main industry of the region, there are potential areas for
exploitation of oil and gas, and control of shipping lanes must be ensured. Claimants include the Philippines,
Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Taiwan, PRC and Vietnam. While the main reason for these claims is economic,
the more important issue to consider is military and potential for China’s future dominance over a strategic
location in the Pacific.
Since 2013, China has been island-building in the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands region. Reclamation
has been done and by 2018, reclaimed islands have been completed, as well as three airports therein. These
recent Chinese actions have met strong opposition from many countries, including the United States.
Vice Admiral Scott Conn, commander of the US Navy’s 3rd Fleet,
said he was aware of reports that Beijing launched two missiles
into the disputed South China Sea on Wednesday (Aug. 26) during
its naval exercises in the area.
*From News18.com: Entering The Dragon’s Lair, Indian Warships
Accompanies US Navy In The South China Sea
08/31--The Indian Navy has deployed two warships to join the US
Navy destroyer in the South China Sea. The warships have been
deployed along the Indian Ocean, near the Strait of Malacca. ANI
quoted govt sources, saying that soon after the Galwan Valley clash
the Indian Navy deployed a warship to the South China Sea.
There are several more significant reports and videos pointing to a
future clash between China and the United States (with many allied
nations now opposed to China). As a Fil-American residing as a
retiree in the Philippines, I shudder at the thought of witnessing a
war between giants. If and when this war happens, I am sure China
will be alone. We must remember that COVID-19 started in China,
and the world is still suffering because of it. With China’s stance of
seemingly doing what it pleases, disregarding international pulse, I
am sure China will never forget should the world punch it in the gut
and force it to kneel down for mercy.
I just hope despite China’s military might and global economic
influence, it will realize that being alone is the most significant
disadvantage it has which will eventually lead to its fall and
destruction. I pray that NO WAR result from this escalating South
China Sea Dispute, bring China to its senses and listen to the voice
of reason. After all, Sun Tzu, in his Art of War, said, “Supreme
excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without