MANILA TIMES: DON'T TAKE CHINA'S BAIT

China is clearly baiting the nations of the region into a response that would be regrettable, and give China a claim to the moral high ground it cannot rationally attain on its own. The latest increase in Chinese provocations began with its announcement of “air identification zones” toward the end of last year, and was followed up by a pronouncement by the regional government of Hainan that fishing and exploration vessels in China’s self-proclaimed “territorial waters” must now obtain Chinese clearance. In the past week, China has descended to new lows by spreading vaguely attributed news reports that it intends to deploy forces to seize the Spratly Islands (known to the Philippines as the Kalayaan Islands) sometime this year. What is most worrisome about the latest, distinctly troll-like reports coming from China is not that they may possibly be true—they are likely not—but that the Aquino administration has already set a precedent for responding thoughtlessly to China’s goading, and may find the most recent provocation impossible to resist. It is telling that the warning of a Chinese invasion closely followed (as in, the same day) some ill-advised comments by an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), expressing confidence that the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos) will invalidate China’s claim to virtually all of the West Philippine Sea, when a ruling is issued at the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.

PHILSTAR: Filipino traitors thrive as China readies invasion

China is preparing to seize Pag-asa Island Philippine territory. As reported by the Qianzhan (Prospects) business and strategy info site, the Chinese military has drawn up an attack plan for execution this year. The alleged strategy is to contain the hostilities within the disputed Spratly archipelago, at the eastern edge of which are Pag-asa and eight other Philippine islets and shoals.he nine sea formations comprise the municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan. More than 250 civilians permanently reside in the biggest, Pag-asa, under a mayor and a town council. Most are fishermen, seafood traders, and goatherds. An undisclosed number of Philippine Marines hold base. Pag-asa has its own waterworks, sun- and diesel-powered electric plant, cell phone site, seaport, airstrip, town hall, schoolhouses, and chapels. China has been lusting for Pag-asa for decades. It claims historic right over all of the Spratlys and the South China (West Philippine) Sea by virtue of an unfounded ancient map. The area is rich in undersea food and fuel (5.4 billion barrels) reserves. A Chinese naval assault of Pag-asa reportedly will spring northward from the smaller Chinese-held Sansha Island, and westward from Mischief Reef, which Beijing grabbed from the Philippines in 1995. In 2012 Beijing also occupied the traditional Filipino fishing grounds, Scarborough Shoal. Why 2014? Beijing likely sees it best to strike while the Philippines is weakest.

MANILA, JANUARY 20, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by BEN D. KRITZ (photo) The People’s Republic of China has apparently decided that 2014 will be the year they push the Asia-Pacific region to or perhaps even past the brink of war for the sake of their obnoxious and irrational claim to the entire body of water now properly referred to as the West Philippine Sea.

We say “properly referred to,” because China has earned the affront which repudiating that sea’s traditional name must surely be to that nation’s sensitive self-image, which in turn would not have to be so sensitive if China actually behaved as a respectable and productive member of the global community.

Pettiness earns a return in kind. Nevertheless, the government and the people of the Philippines should be cautioned to consider with the utmost gravity any reaction that goes beyond that.

China is clearly baiting the nations of the region into a response that would be regrettable, and give China a claim to the moral high ground it cannot rationally attain on its own.

The latest increase in Chinese provocations began with its announcement of “air identification zones” toward the end of last year, and was followed up by a pronouncement by the regional government of Hainan that fishing and exploration vessels in China’s self-proclaimed “territorial waters” must now obtain Chinese clearance.

In the past week, China has descended to new lows by spreading vaguely attributed news reports that it intends to deploy forces to seize the Spratly Islands (known to the Philippines as the Kalayaan Islands) sometime this year.

What is most worrisome about the latest, distinctly troll-like reports coming from China is not that they may possibly be true—they are likely not—but that the Aquino administration has already set a precedent for responding thoughtlessly to China’s goading, and may find the most recent provocation impossible to resist.

It is telling that the warning of a Chinese invasion closely followed (as in, the same day) some ill-advised comments by an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), expressing confidence that the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos) will invalidate China’s claim to virtually all of the West Philippine Sea, when a ruling is issued at the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.

China is, of course, completely ignoring the Itlos case, having long ago qualified its accession to the international agreement by refusing to acknowledge any effect it might have on territorial claims.

The Philippines, incidentally, made the same reservation when it signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), which makes the petition to the Itlos somewhat dubious—the Philippines is, in effect, seeking favorable redress on a question which it would not subject itself to if the situations were reversed.

To China, that is a strong signal of the practical weakness of the Philippines’ claim to the Kalayaan Islands and other areas. They perceive, probably correctly, that the Philippines would wait until it was covered by the fig leaf of legality by a favorable Itlos ruling before making any strong moves to occupy or otherwise establish a firm presence in the disputed areas. If China could bait the Philippines into making a “provocative” move before that ruling is produced, China could then claim that the Philippines is acting aggressively and ignoring the due process of international law.

The unwise comments of DFA Assistant Secretary Raul Fernandez over the weekend were exactly the signal China needed to attempt its latest ploy.

We can be fairly certain it is a ploy because it is impossible that the Chinese military would permit what amounts to an online tabloid to learn about and share any sort of operational plans.

The Chinese are not actually preparing to invade the Kalayaan Islands, but the rumor is almost certainly an officially sanctioned story—since it broke, the government-managed Chinese media has been absolutely silent about it; by the time this column goes to print they may issue a statement, but only after having let the story simmer for a few crucial days.

The Aquino administration should recognize this latest canard for what it is, and demonstrate it can face the China problem intelligently by not reacting to it, at least not in the direct way the Chinese are anticipating.

That means, first and foremost, avoiding futile “shows of strength.” As a recent article in the Get Real Post website pointed out (along with giving a very good summary of the history of the West Philippine Sea dispute), the utter helplessness displayed by the Philippine military in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda—ineffectiveness that was all the more obvious when compared to the visibly rapid, efficient, and massive response by the US and other foreign armed forces—is well-known and understood by the Chinese.

An attempt to threaten China with the feeble capabilities available to the Philippines may only encourage them to try even more provocative actions. Second, the administration must absolutely refrain from making any more stupid and unjustifiable comments like those offered by Assistant Secretary Fernandez.

The outcome of the Itlos arbitration is by no means a foregone conclusion, and statements that might be interpreted as a certain lack of respect for letting the process run its course might have a negative impact, to say nothing of making the DFA look utterly foolish should the ruling turn out to be not in the Philippines’ favor.


The pleasant irony of China’s heavy-handed attempts to cow its regional neighbors is that its divide-and-conquer strategy is failing; the more aggressive China becomes, the more favorable the prospects for multilateral cooperation and solutions in the disputed sea among the nations which, unlike China, have legitimate territorial and economic interests there.

The Philippines will accomplish nothing by recklessly acting on its own, and especially not according to designs laid by China.

ALSO: Filipino traitors thrive as China readies invasion GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (photo below) (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 15, 2014 - 12:00am 35 1622

MANILA - China is preparing to seize Pag-asa Island Philippine territory. As reported by the Qianzhan (Prospects) business and strategy info site, the Chinese military has drawn up an attack plan for execution this year.

The alleged strategy is to contain the hostilities within the disputed Spratly archipelago, at the eastern edge of which are Pag-asa and eight other Philippine islets and shoals.

The nine sea formations comprise the municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan. More than 250 civilians permanently reside in the biggest, Pag-asa, under a mayor and a town council. Most are fishermen, seafood traders, and goatherds.

An undisclosed number of Philippine Marines hold base. Pag-asa has its own waterworks, sun- and diesel-powered electric plant, cell phone site, seaport, airstrip, town hall, schoolhouses, and chapels.

China has been lusting for Pag-asa for decades. It claims historic right over all of the Spratlys and the South China (West Philippine) Sea by virtue of an unfounded ancient map. The area is rich in undersea food and fuel (5.4 billion barrels) reserves.

A Chinese naval assault of Pag-asa reportedly will spring northward from the smaller Chinese-held Sansha Island, and westward from Mischief Reef, which Beijing grabbed from the Philippines in 1995. In 2012 Beijing also occupied the traditional Filipino fishing grounds, Scarborough Shoal.

Why 2014? Beijing likely sees it best to strike while the Philippines is weakest.

A series of natural disasters, including the strongest typhoon in world history and a 7.2-intensity earthquake, leveled its central region. The country is torn by communist insurgency and secession from Moro Islamists. Political dynasties sap the economic life, keeping the people poor and ignorant to maintain their hold on power and the public till. As corrupt and inept is the bureaucracy — China’s signal that the coast is clear for un-repelled attack. Still being retooled from thieving generals, the Filipino army is undermanned and underequipped.

The National Police is unfocused. Filipinos have no basic military nor disaster training; the ROTC was scrapped a decade ago after one cadet was slain by an extortionate officer. In the wake of last November’s Super Typhoon Yolanda, the national disaster coordinator refused to dispatch soldiers for emergency rescue and relief, crying the troops might go hungry. Politicking divides even the Philippine Boy Scouts and Red Cross.

Worst for Filipinos but best for Beijing are traitors in Manila and the provinces who give away Philippine metals to Chinese miners. From Cabinet and local posts they grant gold, silver, iron, copper, nickel, lead, chromite, zinc, cobalt, and magnetite sites to Chinese bribers. The precious metals are shipped off to the mainland, to be fashioned into weapons and surveillance systems with which Chinese warships and jetfighters grab Philippine shoals — and will use to invade Pag-asa.

The Chinese mines come in legal and illegal forms — all economically and environmentally destructive. The bribe for the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources merely to entertain a “legal” mining application is P2 million to P5 million, quintuple to approve. Not a single operation admits its true output or pays the right taxes; ores and processed metals are smuggled out.

The going rate at provincial capitols is P200,000 to P500,000 to “license” just one of hundreds of Chinese miners disguised as small-scale Filipinos. Apart from cheating the government, they denude forests, and poison rivers, seas, and the air. Last June in the African state of Ghana, the government cracked down on legal and illegal Chinese mines that polluted the surroundings and oppressed the local workers. In the Philippines, quislings welcome such invaders as investors.

* * *

We’ve all helped in the Super Typhoon Yolanda relief. We may not know who got the food, clothes, toys, tools, and cash we sent. But for sure it saved lives and sanity, restored hope and dignity. We touched hundreds of thousands who lost family members, homes, and livings. For that, we are blessed.

We can never give enough. Yolanda ravaged 4,971 communities in 171 cities and towns across Central Philippines. Survivors are now struggling to rebuild homes, works, and dreams. They still need our help, until they can set out on their own — and be able to save others in distress when the time comes.

One charity that is refocusing from emergency aid to reconstruction is Tzu Chi Foundation. Major news outlets have reported its weeks-long, multimillion-peso cash-for-work to clean up and restart the economy in Leyte. It now intends to rebuild not only dwellings, but also schoolhouses, playgrounds, and village health centers. To donate: call Ms. Lolit (02) 7320001, local 211; e-mail tzuchi_phils@ph.tzuchi.org; 76 Cordillera corner Agno Streets, Barangay Doña Josefa, Quezon City; website www.tzuchi.org.ph.

When we give we receive — in many and wondrous ways. Each of us has a story about it.

One such account, retold in countless versions, is about the father who bequeathed 17 pigs as assets to three sons. His stipulation was strict: the eldest son was to get one-half of the 17 pigs, the middle son one-third, and the youngest one-ninth. When the father passed away, the sons quarreled about how rightly to divide the pigs live.

A neighbor who had watched them grow up offered to mediate. He pondered over the division puzzle in the will, and had an idea. He donated his own sow to the sons, so that there were now 18 pigs in all.

Hosting breakfast the next morning, the neighbor then proceeded to distribute one-half of 18, or nine pigs, to the eldest son; one-third, or six pigs, to the middle son; and one-ninth, or two pigs, to the youngest.

He gave out the 17 pigs, as the father had wished. He retrieved his sow, which after three-and-a-half months begot 12 piglets.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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