By Ted Laguatan
Article published on Friday, June 27th, 2014
Global Nation: Inquirer.net
Lodging the complaint with the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas (ITLOS) against China’s illegal and immoral invasion and use of brute force to take over Philippine atolls and islands was a good move. A favorable decision would affirm Philippine ownership of certain real estate, marine and energy resources within the country’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).
However, it will take another two years or so before a decision is made. Moreover, China has refused to play by the rules and defiantly declared that it would not respect the decision of ITLOS. As such, the Philippines cannot rely on this court action to solve this difficult problem of a deceptive and powerful bandit-like rogue state stealing islands, atolls and valuable resources.
Meanwhile, knowing that the Philippines neither has the navy nor the air power to stop it, China continues to take over more Philippine islands and atolls. Chinese fishermen also poach continuously in Philippine waters. The Chinese are now even rushing land reclamation military bases projects in various areas they seized inside Philippine territory. These future bases are within easy striking distance to major cities in the Philippines and surrounding ASEAN countries. Once these military bases are built, it would practically be impossible to remove them.
Aerial photo taken on 2/2014 showing Chinese ships filling the Mabini Shoal with land soil to build an island.
Having enemy fighter planes and missiles so proximate to potential target cities is like having a bag of explosives padlocked on one’s neck by a bad guy with a remote control, which he could explode anytime. The baddie has the poor guy under his complete control.
With these bases in place, China can demand anything from the Philippines and take anything it wants. For all practical purposes, the Philippines will then be a slave nation. We would be fools to block this unpleasant reality from our minds and not try our damndest to prevent this terrible situation. We cannot afford to be cowards and be intimidated.
China could also claim later that since they now owned these islands under UNCLOS, all of the areas within 200 miles from the baselines of these islands belonged to them.
China is ruled by dangerous hard-hearted, immoral unethical leaders devoid of Christian or moral principles, who pose a danger not only to the Philippines but to the whole world. They have already announced in Chinese government media their plan to control the whole West Philippine Sea region through sheer military might. Planting bases in Philippine territory is part of that plan.
Even the millions of good people in China are victims of their oppression, greed and ego. Gone are the days when the ethical principles of great Chinese philosophers like Lao Tzu and Confucius dominated Chinese culture and society, where philosopher kings ruled.
The Philippines has already practically exhausted diplomatic efforts and joint exploration offers. The terrible fire-breathing dragon is dealing in bad faith – demands that for any meaningful talks to proceed, the Philippines must first agree to accept that the whole West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea as they call it) belongs to them — including those belonging to the Philippines under UNCLOS.
These aggressive, repeated series of invasions and land grabbing are acts of war. Building military bases inside PH territory are acts of war. China shows no signs of stopping these oppressive actions. The US has repeatedly asked China to stop its coercion and intimidation of smaller countries and to play by the rules. The US Senate has passed two resolutions condemning China, affirming the use of military resources if need be if it continues with its abusive ways. China has not complied. Instead, her arrogant reply to the U.S. is: “Don’t interfere.”
There are those who say: “We cannot risk war with China.” In truth and in fact, we are already at war with China.
If the small nation of Israel were faced with this kind of military base construction from an aggressive enemy state, without hesitation, its fighter planes and drones would immediately destroy these structures. Justifiable self-defense directly related to the security of the Israeli people compels such an actions.
Military bases have only two purposes: To use as defenses from enemy attack; or to attack enemies. No nation is attacking China. As such, China cannot justify the construction of these bases by claiming that it needs them for self-defense. These bases are deep in Philippine territory, in commandeered atolls and islands in violation of international and civilized laws. China’s aggressiveness clearly indicates its nefarious plan to use these bases for coercive, attacking purposes.
The Philippines and surrounding Asian nations have no choice: These future bases must be destroyed now. The fighter planes and missiles that will be deployed there will be daggers aimed at the major cities of these countries. We and they simply cannot allow these bases to be constructed.
“But we are not Israel, we don’t have fighter planes or drones,” would be the reaction of many Filipinos. We can get them.
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III must definitely exercise courageous, decisive leadership at these critical times. If he does not, China’s military bases will be completed. Aquino cannot afford to be shy in these critical times.
Consider this: The Philippines has mutual security arrangements with four wealthy powerful countries. The United States, Japan and Australia. Now, if these Chinese military bases in Philippine territory become realities, aside from the Philippines, the national security of several nearby countries will be at risk: Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Palau, Taiwan, Cambodia, South Korea, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore.
China is acting like a rogue country, which does not play by the rules. Its political and military leadership follows the former Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse Tung’s dictum: “Political power grows from the barrel of a gun.”
These future Chinese military bases are the guns meant by China’s leaders to possess global political power, an extremely perilous situation for all the countries in the region. American economic and military interests are also at risk, as is regional stability. As such, the affected countries also don’t want these bases to be constructed. Not only will they be sympathetic to the Philippines destroying these future bases, they will support it.
The Philippines must request from her mutual security partners the means to destroy these future bases now and the assurance of full support against retaliation. Enough persuasive reasons can be presented to the leaders of the US Japan and Australia to provide to the Philippines the needed planes, smart powerful bombs, drones and technical advice.
After these bases are destroyed, the US, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and other allies must immediately announce a message to this effect:
“In its legitimate exercise of self defense, the Philippines has destroyed future Chinese military bases deep within Philippine territory that were being illegally constructed by China on Philippine atolls and islands in violation of international law. Not only is the national security of the Philippines threatened by these future military bases, they also threaten the national security of several surrounding countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Palau, Taiwan, Cambodia, South Korea, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Singapore.
If China retaliates against the Philippines in any manner or form, it will face the same retaliation from the United States, Japan, Australia, Vietnam and other allied nations.”
With this fair warning, if China still retaliates, it risks annihilation — military, economic or otherwise.
We really have no choice: We have to destroy these future Chinese military bases now.
Note: Ted Laguatan is a San Francisco based human rights lawyer and California State Bar Certified Immigration Law expert.
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