Saturday, April 11, 2015

China's Invasion of the Philippines Will Happen in Our Lifetime

Satellite photo of the development of a Chinese military base in the West Philippine Sea
I have joked in the past that the Philippines is more or less ready for Chinese occupation due to the reality that most of our rich people have Chinese ancestry and surnames, numerous Chinese temples are scattered across the country, and Filipinos are fond of buying cheap, China-made knockoffs.  But, seriously, I extremely hate to see a Chinese invasion happening – to have the Philippines go to war with China, lose, and be occupied.  It’s a troubling scenario. 

Besides, if the Philippines will go to war, I will be probably be drawn to the conflict – whether by being conscripted to the Philippine military, or helping in the resistance.  It’s something I’m not particularly equipped for.  I’m awfully out of shape.  And after experiencing riding or witnessing some rides in Enchanted Kingdom about a year and a half ago, I learned that I’m pathetic in facing life-threatening danger.  I will arguably be useless in a fight.

I wish I’m just fooling around with the title of this article.  But there’s half of me that really believes the Chinese will make a move to invade us.  Probably not soon.  But maybe within the next two decades.  Yes, China has been historically controversially aggressive, but it seems that the communist country has been more so recently.  Sure, other countries are presently threatened by China, too.  But, looking at the signs being shown by our current status quo, if ever China decides to go an invasion spree, the Philippines is the likeliest first target.        

For years, China has constantly disrespected the sovereignty and boundaries of the Philippines.  But its recent construction of artificial islands and military bases within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone is its most disturbing action so far.  Some of those bases are only a little bit over a hundred kilometers away from Philippine mainland!  If ever China decides to invade the Philippines, its military logistics will easily flow through those military bases as entry points.  Definitely, China’s behavior is a clear prelude to invasion.  In fact, by clear violation of the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone set by UNCLOS, it is already, technically, an invasion.        

This issue regarding China’s penetration into Philippine waters and its building of military bases should be dealt with ASAP.  I’m a bit upset that there seems to be a general ignorance and apathy about the matter, not only in the international community, but among Filipinos as well.  It is a matter that I believe deserves everyone’s utmost attention and should be addressed urgently.  Here are some things that I would like to see happen right now:      
Filipinos should be more attentive regarding the matter.  I understand that our country is dealing with countless problems internally.  But I still believe that the issue with China deserves a top priority.  I hope that the Philippine government and media will provide the attention that the issue deserves.  How can other nations see the urgency and magnitude of the problem if we Filipinos aren’t giving it the concern it deserves?  I understand that P-Noy wants to leave a great legacy.  And there’s probably no greater legacy than managing to address this matter, or at least, laying the groundwork for the next president to do it.
The Philippines should start lobbying for other countries’ support.  If the Philippines fall, other countries in the region is also open to invasion.  As early as now, the Philippines and other countries (India, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, etc.) that have problems with China should openly declare an alliance already.  I want all these countries to strongly imply that they will gang up on China if necessary.
Strong reassurance from the US.  Our main military ally is the US.  The US promised that it will take military response if China continues to push its aggressiveness.  But, more than this, I hope the US will tangibly provide military assistance now by giving (or loaning) the Philippines a couple of modern military hardware.  A couple of drones, especially.  Such gesture will not only provide us some valuable weapons when time comes, but it will send the message to China that the US is committed on aiding us if they continue their aggressiveness.  In fact, I wouldn’t even mind if the Philippine government will officially declare what the Chinese are doing now is an invasion (which technically is exactly that anyway) and then request US aid in destroying those bases.
A US military base in Mindanao.  It has always been one of my realistic – because I also have a couple of far-fetched ones – dreams for this country, up there with a modern rail system operating in Luzon.  Let that sink in.  Think of the huge effect that a US military base will provide.
The US and the UN declaring an ultimatum for China to remove those bases.  If China refuses to comply, sanctions should be given.  The Philippines had already filed a case against China in the world court.  This case is a sure win for the Philippines (since simple common sense shows that China is at fault here), but China has made it clear that they won’t adhere to any decision in favor of the Philippines.  UN should grow a pair, and make a clear, firm statement right now of the actions they will take to enforce their ruling on the matter.

Diplomacy and taking legal action – which are the only things the Philippines is doing at the present – are of course the ideal ways to resolve this.  But the Philippines should, at this point, seriously consider what should be done once this channel is exhausted.  I’m not asking the Philippines to make a strong, hasty mobilization for war against China right now (besides, we don’t have the firepower to back it up).  But I believe it is necessary for the Philippines to relay the message that, regardless of our limited capability, we are prepared to make a move and destroy those Chinese bases once UN makes a resolution regarding the matter and China refuses to comply.  Moreover – and most importantly, because we can’t do this alone – the Philippines should also actively request the UN, the US, and our other allies to make official statements and pledges on what they intend to do if China will choose to disregard UN decision and continue their aggressive behavior.             

There’s the saying, “Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.”  China’s bases within Philippine waters are the metaphorical “inch” we can’t afford to yield.  Therefore, what I would really like to see is for the Philippines to prioritize this matter and make substantial, calculated moves right now.  We should not wait until China is already comfortably positioned to take the metaphorical “mile.”    

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