Needing a united voice against China
I would like to extend Manuel Quezon III’s argument on divide and conquer in the South China Sea (“Divide and conquer,” The Long View, 11/01/23). I suggest the Philippines make a united front with our neighbors to negotiate against China.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei are also concerned about keeping their own economic zone intact in the South China Sea. With only Vietnam perhaps do we have any conflicting claim over this body of water. Can the Department of Foreign Affairs maybe work out those claims with the Vietnamese and reach a compromise? This should not be so difficult to do. And then perhaps we could work as a group with our neighbors to present a united front in protecting our property against China.
This would greatly enhance our negotiating stance in the South China Sea. Right now, we are a lonely voice, easily picked on by China. Perhaps we are seen by them as defenseless, always running to our “big brother,” the Americans, when the going gets tough. But if instead we negotiated with one voice, with the voice of maritime Southeast Asian nations, we would not get pushed around so much. We could help these countries, and they could help us. Only united do we stand a chance against the aggressive Chinese.