China’s regional designs
China keeps on occupying more territories that it claims as its own despite the protestations of other claimant-countries. It continues to build manmade islands and turn them into missile bases, even as it causes massive destruction of the environment. This is part of its strategy to project supremacy and advance its economic agenda and military designs.
China wants to take control of the Spratly Islands, and obviously is interested in Benham Rise, because of their vast economic resources and strategic location. It desires to secure all methane hydrate for its own and make the West Philippine Sea as an asylum for its nuclear-armed submarine. China’s government has already declared that the military installations it has built on the islands will be limited to required resistance necessities.
The Kagitingan Reef now occupied by China is also claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. China’s display of power signals its aggressive designs which the international community has condemned from the day the sea dispute erupted.
Nevertheless, such aggression does not diminish our sovereign rights which the Permanent Court of Arbitration categorically acknowledged on July 12, 2016.
The question is, are we allowing China to exploit our natural resources? Our country should be extra concerned with this because such act poses a serious threat to our country as well as to other claimant-nations. This particular issue should awaken the spirit of patriotism in every Filipino and unite the nation in asserting our sovereign right to our exclusive economic zone or EEZ.
The hard part is that we cannot call for war or for a more hardline reaction. China is a global superpower with nuclear warheads and a missile arsenal that could hit the Philippines from the mainland. But if China wants respect as a global power, it should abide by the UN-backed arbitral court ruling that invalidated its expansive maritime claims.
We hope China would not threaten peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea nor disrupt other countries in the exercise of their sovereign rights.
ANN R. AQUINO, [email protected]
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