Deceptive proposals on China-US-WPS | Inquirer Opinion

Deceptive proposals on China-US-WPS

The commentary “Manila’s role refortified in Washington” (10/29/21) by Rasti Delizo follows the familiar theme of the leftists: Terminate our defense agreement with the United States and pursue a non-alignment policy vis-à-vis China and the United States.

This line ignores China’s possession in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) of domain that belongs to us under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The predictable outcome of this initiative will be as follows:


China will remain in permanent possession of the WPS. We cannot oust China from the WPS mano a mano, without allies.

It will mean the permanent loss of livelihood of our fishermen in the WPS.


It will result in higher prices of seafood. As Justice Antonio Carpio noted in his column, the Chinese are now selling us galunggong harvested from the WPS.

It will leave us open to further aggression should China decide to annex Pag-asa Island.

It will make the Philippines the 24th province of China. China can later on discover a “10-dash line” which includes Luzon, Palawan, and Mindoro as Chinese territory.

Our foreign policy is based on the universally used doctrine of “threat assessment.” The reader can readily apply this methodology. The policy of a country is matched against its intent and capability. France and England have the capability to invade the Philippines. However, they have no intent to do this, and thus are not threats to our security. Microstates like Nauru, Fiji, Seychelles, etc., have no such capability. Even if their intent is to harm us, they cannot do so.

China initially did not have the capability or the intent to harm us. This changed when Mao Zedong won the Chinese Civil War in 1949. The reverse progression of China’s threat to our sovereignty is posted below:

War (2012): Blockade of Ayungin and Scarborough Shoal. A blockade is an act of war.

Actual threat (1974): Start of seizure of territories in the South China Sea’s Paracel Island. (China acquired the combination of intent and capability at this time.)


Potential threat (October 1949): Accession to power of Mao. Beijing radio called on the peoples of Asia to overthrow their governments. (Intent present but no capability yet.)

Remote threat (before 1949): Before Mao’s takeover and civil war with the Nationalists, China had no time for foreign adventures during this period. (No intent or capability).

Nonexistent: Only microstates such as Nauru, Seychelles, Fiji, etc., fall under this category. Microstates may develop the intent to commit aggression, but they will never have such capability.

A further caveat: A Third World country can only address one threat at a time due to limited resources. Thus, we can only address the threat at the highest level (war) now being posed by China to our country. After we get rid of this threat, we can address other threats.

In contrast, a superpower can address multiple threats. The US armed forces can fight two major wars. During Pax Britannica, the Royal Navy was two and one-half times bigger than any two other navies of that period. If the next two naval powers had combined, the Royal Navy would still have prevailed.

Our foreign policy, as noted, is based on the universally used threat assessment approach. In return, it is incumbent on the leftists to present to our people the basis for their repeated assertions that the US poses a greater threat to the Philippines than China. Equally important, how will we oust China from the WPS if we have no allies? Failing that, the leftists can be labeled as agents of a foreign country.

Our voters should know how to vote based on the foregoing discussions.

* * *

Hermenegildo C. Cruz is a retired career ambassador. In 1969, early in his career, he served as chief of the American Division in the defunct Office of Political Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He was involved in negotiations over the Philippines’ defense agreements with the US, and served in the Committee on Foreign Relations of the 1972 Integrated Re-organization Commission, which designed the current structure of the DFA.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Commentary, Hermenegildo C. Cruz, Maritime Dispute, PH-China relations, US-China relations, West Philippine Sea
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Fearless views on the news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.