On China: reply to Carpio
This is in reply to Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s five-point strategy in dealing with Chinese incursions:
1. Carpio: Since the Philippines can’t match China’s military power, President Duterte might opt for other actions to defend the country’s sovereignty over the shoal and fulfill his duty.
Reply: What other actions? Be specific.
2. Carpio suggested the filing of a formal protest over China’s incursions in Panatag Shoal. “This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Parcels,” he said.
R: All formal protests from the United States, Vietnam, Philippines, etc. have not worked before.
3. Carpio: The government could also send the Philippine Navy to patrol the shoal.
R: The Philippine Navy patrol cannot do anything but
4. Carpio: If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea.
R: Possible but not probable. The United States moves according to its geopolitical interests, not ours. If they decide not to counterattack, which is very probable, they can make a lot of excuses, especially saying it may cause World War III. The United States is not ready for a military confrontation with China, and China knows this, so they move at will.
5. Carpio: The government may ask the United States to declare the shoal as part of Philippine territory and accept the standing American offer to hold joint patrols in the South China Sea for that purpose.
R: Again, such declarations and patrols have no effect on Chinese moves. If China can defy US warships in the Spratlys, what more such puny joint patrols. What more if they have installed warplanes and missiles.
The solution is neither military nor diplomatic, which are dead ends. The solution is to sleep with the “enemy”—that is, engage in a mining partnership with the giant. The Philippines as the landowner gets a share. China as the capitalist explores and extracts.
A Philippine firm as partner is better. China will try to give us the tail of the fish, but we can negotiate. In other words, we give the Chinese permission to mine only if they respect our territory and give us our share. This solution dissipates a US-China military konfrontasi. China might just agree to avoid a future unpredictable situation. In truth, China and the United States know there can be an accidental nuclear war when super-forces go eye-ball-to-eye-ball.
The $1-billion agri-import deal is a bait, a Trojan Horse to soften protest, and for us to allow them to move in into our territories. Let’s hope Mr. Duterte is wise enough not to bite. Or go for the deal, but still insist on the “landowner-tenant deal.” The trade deal still has no details. We can still give them Benham Rise for a song.
BERNIE V. LOPEZ,
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