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China Owns the Entire South China Sea? What are They Smoking—Opium?

Chinese radar installation near the Spratlys
he arrogance of China is becoming readily apparent with each passing day. With their newly acquired economic and military power the Chinese appear unrestrained in their assertiveness towards their neighbors. China, instead of positioning itself as a 21st century superpower appears to be turning back the clock resembling more and more the 12th century empire of Genghis Khan and the Mongol hordes who conquered most of Eurasia...just because they could. Today's China it seems adheres to the philosophy that "might makes right." And since it has the biggest "guns" in the region it can do or take whatever it wants.

Is this a superpower's prerogative as the Chinese might argue? In similar fashion, for most of the 20th Century, the United States saw the Caribbean Sea as its own private "sandbox" where it would operate unimpeded. However,  the US—although it could have—never operated with the arrogance and impunity that China currently displays. It has the most powerful navy in the region so it intimidates all its neighbors.

And the Chinese seem to derive perverse pleasure from picking on Filipinos in particular. Robert D. Kaplan, recognized as one of the world's "top 100 global thinkers" by Foreign Policy magazine in 2011, and a member of an advisory committee to the US Department of Defense notes in his book Asia's Cauldron that "the truth was, that pushing the Philippines around served a purpose in nationalistic circles in Beijing that pushing Vietnam around just didn't. Hating Vietnam was a default emotion inside China and therefore did not advance any Chinese official's or military officer's nationalistic bona fides; whereas because the Philippines was a formal treaty ally of the United states, bullying the Philippines telegraphed that China was pushing back at the United States. And this was easy to do because of the Philippine military's own lack of capacity."

In addition, based on China's dealings with the Philippines during the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, they must have likewise concluded that Philippine government officials, from the president on down are both corrupt and gullible. After years of the Philippines telling its ASEAN neighbors to stand united against China, Arroyo suddenly broke ranks in 2004 to make a secret deal with China and Vietnam called the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU). Even members of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives were kept in the dark as to the details of this joint undertaking. The secret project abruptly ended in early 2008 after an article published in the Far Eastern Economic Review characterized the project as a "sellout" by the Arroyo administration to China and Vietnam. The late Barry Wain, a well-respected researcher from the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore authored the article noting that "the Philippines ... has made breathtaking concessions in agreeing to the area for study, including parts of its own continental shelf not even claimed by China and Vietnam." It is no wonder Arroyo wanted to keep everything under wraps! Now remember to include treason to the list of charges being leveled against her.

The JMSU and the NBN-ZTE scandal that soon followed gave Chinese leaders the first-hand experience they were looking for when dealing with the top echelons of the Philippine government. And they may likely have concluded that getting Filipinos to do their bidding would be a cakewalk so long as you "greased" enough palms. The fact that this current Aquino administration has shunned corruption does not mean that future ones will. But China does not even have to wait for a new Philippine administration it can bribe. China can simply continue with its "salami slicing" strategy, grabbing one small island after another until it eventually controls everything it wants. A war weary United States will likely not confront China or even come to the aid of its treaty partner especially when that partner is in a hole it dug for itself when it forced the US military to leave in 1991.

Even Chinese-Filipino business leaders who now control much of the country's commerce and industry are unlikely to show overt support for the Philippine cause for fear they may be blacklisted from doing business in China. The only viable option open to the Philippines was to run to the United Nations and seek arbitration. Any decision from the UN's Permanent Court of Arbitration is at least a year away but China has already made clear it will not abide by the UN court's ruling.

In the recently concluded regional security summit at Naypyidaw, Myanmar, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi hinted that China would be willing to halt activity in disputed areas of the South China sea if the Philippines withdraws its arbitration case in the UN. Hoping that Filipino officials take the bait, and drop their UN suit, it is highly unlikely however that China will give up its plan to dominate the entire South China Sea.

Where does all this lead to? It is difficult to say at this point but one thing is for sure. The bucolic, laidback lifestyle of the average Filipino will most certainly have to change. And that in itself might be the best thing to happen in a long, long while. Published 08/12/2014

Philnews.com reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

Comments from Our  Readers
(Topic: China Owns the Entire South China Sea? What are They Smoking—Opium?)

Name: Lester Boyle
City/State/Country: woodhaven
IP Address:


It was during the time of Marcos that the economy stumbled and fell. It was Ninoy who caused the lost of Sabbah when it alerted Malaysia what was coming to them Malaysia was weak then. It was Arroyo who empowered the Chinese to explore the vastness of South China Sea for oil. Arroyo entered a joint oil exploration partnership with China with Congress being kept in the dark. The pain that is felt by the country today started with the recklesness of Marcos, the weakness of Cory, the stupidity of Erap, the stealth ambition of Ramos to get rich quickly and the insatiable greed of of the country' diminutive president, Gloria Arroyo and her lust for power.

Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Vacationland
IP Address:


It's time to stop talking or discussing how China systematically occupying or invading disputed islands one after the other. they are now building concrete barriers (for defensive purposes) on Mabini Reef & 3 other islets. They ignored the Phil's claim to them. Next, if they will try to occupy the Recto Reed Bank where we are currently exploring oil deposits, then, China's intentions are clear. Total domination. The time for our govt to act is now before it's too late. China has gained grounds & all our gov't do is talk. The situation is either we swim or we sink. Talking, protesting, claiming to no avail is not the answer.

Name: Isabelle
City/State/Country: Toronto
IP Address:


To those who keeps on disparaging the Chinese in the Philippines- --their business and successes--- why don't you people ask yourselves- how do they do it and became Taipans to boot-- while Filipinos in their own countries became the minions, peons and the gofers?!? Why is it that the Chinese business people invest in the country while their Filipino counterparts rather salt their money abroad? If your answer is because the Chinese has corrupted the country-- then the question is who allowed them to do it ? Surely- if there is a corruptor- then there must be a "corruptee'!

Name: mockingmaya
City/State/Country: taft avenue, manila
IP Address:


I think there is a grain of truth that the Filipino-Chinese will not question, re-think, & re-examine the realities [i.e., the negative & positive aspects] of Communist China's economic & military hegemonic influence around the globe [see Africa as Communist China's New Continent] because they agree with Deng Xiaoping's maxim: "Getting rich is sure glorious," without the promise of political reform, freedom, liberty, rule of law, human rights & other democratic values. In short, it is beyond the imagination of Filipino-Chinese to challenge Communist China's dictatorial economic system. The fact remains, Communist China will never uphold the requirements of international law: that might is right [Thucydides] & ethical-morality is useless.

Philippine NewsLink reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.


On Her 5th Death Anniversary, We Say 'Thanks for Nothing Cory Aquino'

The passage of time has a way of distilling reality and bringing out truths that are sometimes hidden or lost by present circumstances. Case in point is the overwhelming level of admiration many Filipinos have for former President Corazon Aquino. When she passed away in 2009, the entire nation seemed beside itself in grief. Her casket was mobbed by thousands of mourners as it slowly made its way through the streets of Metro Manila to its final resting place at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque. Published 08/02/2014

The Failure of Philippine Education Is Now Staring Us in the Face

Will the Philippines Ever Become a Developed Country? The short answer to that is no—at least not in our lifetime. While the country has of late improved it credit ratings as evidenced by upgrades from Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's all that perceived progress is illusory. In the Fifties and Sixties, when the Philippines was undeniably the country at the top of the heap in Southeast Asia, people said it would always be the most industrialized country in the region. Published 08/02/2014
So, Should Jejomar Binay Be the Next President of the Philippines?

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China’s Military Base on Mabini Reef Violates the Philippine Constitution

While searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 11, 2014, a Philippine Air Force plane flying over the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea sighted Chinese reclamation activity in the Mabini Reef of the Kalayaan Island Group within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. His aerial photographs were transmitted to the Philippine government for analysis. Published 07/10/2014
Napoles PDAF/NGO Scandal: What is Ten or Fifteen Billion Pesos Really Worth?

For those who have been following the Janet Lim-Napoles PDAF/NGO* scandal these past months, it is easy to get caught up in all the rhetoric—the words and phrases repeated day after day. Words like "ten billion" or "fifteen billion" have turned into something akin to "gray" background noise.  Words devoid of any real meaning or significance. So let us try to put back some meaning into those trite and often-repeated phrases in order to better understand some of the far-reaching ramifications of Napoles' actions. Published 06/30/2014
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With Senator Bong Revilla already in police custody in Camp Crame and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile set to join him any day now, people need to start asking tough questions going forward. The privilege speeches of the senators along with the histrionics that accompanied them are thankfully now over so we can all address this issue more objectively. Published 06/21/2014
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