STABILIZING COUNTERWEIGHT

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STABILIZING COUNTERWEIGHT

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international-datelineby Edgar Allan J. Tac-an

President Aquino said, “Unity is the key to achieving goals for the good of all. Instead of being on our own, it is clear, the legitimate problem of one is the problem of all.”

In the recent ASEAN Summit in Malaysia, the Philippines rendered a strong statement against China, and called ASEAN to stand up and demand to China to end its expansive and illegal reclamation works at the South China Sea.

The ASEAN leaders going by the frameworks and “principle of peaceful co-existence” would address the matter constructively.

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While China vowed to respect and adhere to ASEAN centrality, however, it declared that ASEAN is not a concerned party in the South China Sea dispute. China stressed repeatedly that their construction activities on the Islands are within scope of China’s unimpeachable sovereignty.

In reverse, China told the Philippines and Vietnam to halt all intrusive action on China-owned islands in the South China Sea, making it clear that any interference in disputes with neighbors will not be tolerated.

The G7 leaders also compiled a document on maritime security, renewing attention to the South China Sea by opposing “any attempt to press maritime or territorial claims through the use of intimidation, coercion or force.”

The US with Japan similarly accused China of “flexing its muscles” over the South China Sea issue. On their new bilateral defense guidelines, Japan would play a more active part on the use of force to support US military operations in the Asia-Pacific.

In response to China’s increasingly aggressive hunt of territorial claims, Japan’s Prime Minister,plans for Japan to take on a wider security role beyond the direct defense of its home islands. “We have to show China that it doesn’t own the sea,” he said.

This decision would push the US and Japan military to ask the Philippines for access to military bases to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships.

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The Philippine Supreme Court will have to make its rulings on the constitutionality of the military deal, called Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

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While China reacted, that the United States and Japan were “not involved in the South China Sea issue” and should not do anything to “complicate the situation”.

However, the US and Japan’s military presence in the South China Sea would provide a stabilizing counterweight to the growing existence of Chinese military in the islands.

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Tidbits:

Nepal reconstruction effort must incorporate safeguards against future natural disasters rather than being rushed through, said risk-disaster specialist. Failure to invest in “building back better,” improving infrastructure and making sure everyone was as prepared as possible for quakes would prove costly.

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If you help to build local and national capacity to respond, the big dream is that in the long run, there won’t be a need for international support.

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