Beware of Chinese Doublespeak

China’s failure to remove its vessels from Panatag Shoal is clear evidence of Chinese shadow play in the resolution of the dispute. Remember that about a month ago, Chinese authorities declared a fishing ban in the area for a period of two and a half months. Philippine authorities, in an effort to calm the standoff, followed suit and declared a similar ban. But contrary to the ban, no less than 20 Chinese fishing boats remain in the lagoon of the shoal, an area that is approximately as big as Quezon City. This number is in addition to no less than three Chinese government vessels in the area. This is clear doublespeak.

Despite China’s doublespeak, President Aquino still ordered our two remaining government vessels in the area to leave. The pretext was the onslaught of a powerful typhoon. But diplomatic pundits do not buy this. They say that the real reason is that our policy makers probably miscalculated that China, like us, would want to reduce the tension the area. They hoped that Chinese authorities would reciprocate the order for our vessels to leave. This did not happen.

At least, it is now clear that China does not intend, or wish, to scale down its action.  It is also now clear that China will not settle for anything less than our relinquishment of our claim to the shoal. This is their desired end-result when they espouse a “diplomatic” solution to the standoff.

The question in our mind is why is China taking this position only now? And why the brazenness of its acts?

Observers posit that China’s actuations are a precursor of further trouble to come. The real battle ground is Recto Bank where we are about to drill for oil. Our responses to Chinese provocation in the shoal will in turn determine their future actuations in Recto Bank. On the basis of their current track record in the shoal, we should expect the Chinese to send its entire Armada to Recto should we persist in our effort to drill for oil in the area. Already, China has announced that it would conduct military exercises aimed at defending their perceived right to explore for mineral deposits in the West Philippine Sea. This is a clear message that China will use its recently acquired military might to defend its interest in these troubled waters.

It is imperative for Philippine policymakers now to acknowledge this state of affairs. Yes, diplomacy is the preferred mode of international dispute settlement. But this is only when the parties to the dispute observe good faith in their negotiations to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute. It cannot be the solution when the Chinese view is that diplomacy should only result in our recognition of their claim to the area.

I have consistently argued hence that the only recourse for the country is to resort to the binding and mandatory dispute settlement procedure of the UNCLOS. The question was asked recently in a forum sponsored by the Ortigas library on why the Philippines has not brought the matter earlier to this dispute settlement body.

Professor Randy David had a notable observation. President Gloria Arroyo, according to him, courted Chinese support precisely by sitting on our options in asserting our national territory. This appears plausible given that instead of asserting our sovereignty, PGMA and her cohorts at the DFA and other line agencies—many of whom have recycled themselves as being pro-P Noy today—allowed the Chinese to engage, among others, in the exploration of our natural resources through the Joint Maritime Seismic and Exploration Agreement of the West Philippines Seas and the grant of mining grants in Diwalwal and North Davao to the company behind the botched National Broadband Network, ZTE Corporation. This is, many believe, in return for the many fraudulent Chinese funded projects entered into by the Arroyo regime, including the Northrail contract and the NBN-ZTE deal. In short, it was territory in exchange for pay-offs, or “tongpats.”

It is hoped that President Aquino will hence assert Philippine sovereignty in territories that are in fact ours.  The starting point is a clear and unequivocal declaration from a body such as the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea on which country is entitled to explore and exploit the natural resources in Panatag and in the Kalayaan group of islands.

5 comments on “Beware of Chinese Doublespeak

  1. Fedex says:

    We MUST do and REACT NOW!!!this ISSUE is not a LOCAL or ORDINARY issue like WELGA/Protest along the STREETS!!!NINOY you MUST do SOMETHING for the sake of PHILIPPINE SOVEREIGNTY!!!!eh’ pano nga pala to aaksyon si Panot eh mahilig nga pala tong MANGUMISYON….!

  2. ricky p. says:

    Really, China is not engaged in double speak. They totally cannot be trusted. Its the culture of deceipt for these chineses. Just look at the so many china products in the market that borders on the toxic and the poisonous without regard to human health. certainly, the allure that is recto bank has caught their attention and would one day soon launch an attack on the entire Phlippines. It was the old China psyche when they were occupied by Japan. Now with its new found strength which largely because of its economic tiger status with bogus goods flooding the market. It now wants to redeem its old dynasties by bullying. We should strengthen the military and just be alert. As they say the best way to peace is to prepare for war.

  3. aaron a. legaspi says:

    I am sorry sorry to say Harry that international forum respects only countrys whose citizens are willing to go to war for their rights like Israel. And sorry to say again that the chinese know that we don’t have that capability. The last filipino willing to die or fight for his country was murdered in Marigondon, Cavite. Nobody follows after that- well perhaps the Hukbalahaps. As for Noynoy he has no stomach for war or something like it. That is why the MILF, MNLF, NPAs and murdering Abus marches on.

  4. If the Philippine is under attack, America would help and vice versa. This is the consensus of the treaty. The Chinese warships retreated upon learning the treaty. Stationing a warships in Panatag Shoal is an act of agression. They can be eliminated by American drones. China was wise enough. She replaced with civilian ships on the pretext of conducting experimental research.

    The proposed Chinese military exercises in West Philippine Seas is just a deterrent to us. I think there’s nothing to worry about this muscles reflexing. Let us see and watch.

    China is bullying Japan also. She claims the three islands in the northern part of Japan. The area has been proven having a rich deposit of oil. It is very interesting to watch and see the one year ultimatum given to Japan. China is hungry for oil to feed her machineries stoking the economic boom. This is the reason she is acting like this. Iran is under sanction. She is scouring the world in replacement of Iran’s oil.

    Meanwhile, America announced their successful test of unmanned sea drones in the Pacific. This is a deterrent to China of her nuclear powered submarines. In response, China sent her astronauts to space bringing secret military hardwares. If China would wage the battle against her neighbors, she could not be a superpower.

  5. reyn says:

    I would Agree to mr.bacera china is just trying to test us and other asian countries. but actually if we step backward from this current problem china might think that we are afraid of them… we must maintain our vigilance at all times , hoping that our government will stick to its plan in modernizing our AFP… China could never be really trusted…. same as there products sold in the street here in the Philippines:)

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