ACCORDING TO SC JUSTICE Antonio Carpio the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague- will render its decision on the disputed South China Sea-on July 7.
Per Carpio, China’s arguments of ownership do not hold historical or legal water. The expected verdict is for China to respect territorial rates claimed by other sovereigns like the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and others.
But winning the legal battle is the easy part; implementing it is a Himalayas to climb.
What are the options left for the Philippines who , at least, had the nerve to challenge Almighty China’s claims in the international court. (It is a credit to the Aquino administration sober thinking on foreign policy with always “the rule of law” in mind.)
Maybe not yet a full-fledged war -when China disrespects the international ruling- but the hostilities Â and animosity there will escalate from minor to major.
One, powerhouses like the USA and Japan want that sea corridor freed for international commerce (freedom of navigation) due to its strategic location. Second, China’s foothold in the area gives the Chinese a tactical ground to oversee its geopolitical ambition-or defense- in the Asia Pacific region.
The recent military exercises of the USA-RP and Japan in the area are body language signs Â about the intent of the two other political giants. Indonesian navy boats recently fired at Chinese fishing vessels which crossed the territorial lines of their island Natura Â in the area-killing one Chinese.
That makes the situation in the area combustible for a major conflagration post July 7.
What are the options left for a small country like the Philippines.We can’t go to war, for sure.
Our military might is puny compared to China’s. President Duterte said there are 30 MIG jet fighters in the disputed area that can cross the Philippines in 6 minutes.
Against our weaker Â 12 FA-50 Fighter Jets? Experts say even in a conventional warfare- our bullets will only last two weeks at full battle.
Consider that the Philippines is rated only No 51 in 126 countries in terms of military strength.We have only 220,000 active front liners and Â 440,000 active reserves.Add to that 45 tanks, 778 armed vehicles, 150 total aircraft and 119 warships. Not much, really.
China will pulverize us in no time. It is a foolish option without the Â backing from a superpower.
We have serious doubts about a multilateral (among current claimants) approach to talk China to a joint exploration-since the implications are not only economic but serious politics, as well. Â A bilateral talk with China is a sovereign cowardice and might erase our legal strength in the Hague Court.
Peace Process secretary Jess Dureza told us Â that the campaign pitch of Duterte to “jet ski to the South China Sea and plant the flag there is mere hyperbole”. Comforting to know. We do not want a dead president before Â his year one ends.
What about the United Nations joint forces? Are they mandated to implement international decisions over warring nations?
Our tiny take on this is simple: China is in there for business.
It has so much at stake Â for her to help address the welfare of billions of Chinese.
We all know why they are in China Sea. There are (low-high estimates) Â of 5 -100 billion tons of oil and gas reserves (30% petroleum), rare earth minerals that will fuel the new generation technology like Â 15 lanthanides with cardium and yttrium and 10% of the world’s fish catch. ( About 30% of RP’s marine life for food is taken from that disputed area).
China is taking the right steps (for the wrong reasons) in erecting landmarks in the area. Because this is one of the four conditions to claim historic sovereignty. They are showing presence in the area and telling the world, exercising Â sovereignty over them (flags, soldiers, airports) and can claim recognition by others through their silence or passive protests.
But our take maybe oversimplified. China, right now, is a Â dyed-in-the -wool businessman.
The whole claimant-sovereigns backed by superpowers must engage China simultaneously- with the Hague decision as its legal weapon- Â in an economic dialogue to see that business and world trade prosper in the area with a win-win business proposal.
The language of the dollar- or the yuan, if one insists- is the only language the Mainland Chinese understand, to our minds.
Let the world walk China’s talk. Violence is counter productive.The whole world suffers.
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