China’s threat of ‘counterstrike’ in West Philippine Sea: What’s next move for Ph Government?

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After taking naval control over Scarborough Shoal, China is now ratcheting up its efforts to secure other disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea. According to China’s state media, a “counterstrike” will be launched against Philippine forces if the Philippine government does not stand down on its provocative activities in the area.

The overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, said in a front-page commentary that the Philippines had committed “seven sins” in the South China Sea.

These include the “illegal occupation” of the Spratly Islands, inviting foreign capital to engage in oil and gas development in the disputed waters and promoting the “internationalization” of the waters, said the commentary.

The Philippines has called on the United States to act as a “patron”, while ASEAN has become an “accomplice,” said the commentary, which does not amount to official policy but can reflect the government’s thinking.

“The Philippines, knowing that it’s weak, believes that ‘a crying child will have milk to drink’,” the People’s Daily said, accusing Manila of resorting to many “unscrupulous” tricks in the disputed waters.

Chinese destroyer on goodwill visit to US in 2006

Chinese destroyer on goodwill visit to Pearl Harbor in the US in 2006

The Philippines has long relied on the United States for military defense. The Philippines’ military capability and state of military preparedness had progressively degenerated since the country gained its independence from the United States in 1946. The country’s vulnerability to external threats was also exacerbated by a shortsighted 1991 decision to not renew the US’s lease on huge military bases it built all over the country.

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The US naval base in Subic Bay at its peak was capable of supporting 9,000 military personnel and was home to the US Navy Seventh Fleet back in the good ‘ol days. Furthermore, the US military presence there and in other parts of the Philippines contributed at least $1 billion to the national economy per annum. The Philippines also sits smack within vital sea lanes that serve most of East Asia, specifically the Straits of Malacca which is one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping lanes.

Since its withdrawal from the Philippines in 1991, US interest in Philippine affairs and wherewithal to honour its commitments under existing defense treaties has wavered. Still, it is in everyone’s interest to develop strategies to contain China. The Philippines remains important to the US because it is located near the Straits of Malacca, is within missile and airstrike shot of one notably belligerent Korean regime, and is a more convenient staging platform for any sort of strategic “deterrence” position America aspires to taking in the next several years to balance military power in a region surrounded by the emerging might of China and India.

As if sniffing lack of unity and confusion within the ranks of its opponents, China is escalating the assertiveness with which it expresses its adamant position on the matter…

On Thursday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that countries with territorial claims in the South China Sea that look for help from third parties will find their efforts “futile”, adding that the path of confrontation would be “doomed”.

To the question of whether the Philippines should turn its back on the “emancipation from its colonial past” that was supposedly “achieved” in 1991 when its government kicked the Americans out of its military bases, the answer is becoming obvious. Notwithstanding the imminent threat from China, the premise of this “emancipation” card in the debate over allowing the US to deploy troops on Philippine soil again becomes clearly flawed when framed by the question of whether or not the Philippines has ever been truly independent to begin with — before or after 1991.

[Photo courtesy China People’s Daily.]

32 Replies to “China’s threat of ‘counterstrike’ in West Philippine Sea: What’s next move for Ph Government?”

  1. This must be reported to the United Nations because China is again on it. Dapat alam nila na kakampi natin ang Amerika.

    1. are we not suck a thick skin idiots to drag US into our mess? we incite trouble that we can’t back it up. typical pinoy tambay mentality – kala kasi parang baranggay lang na pwedeng kuyogin ang kalaban. sorry na lang tayo dahil hinde baranggay level ang conflict na to.

        1. Really? Kanino mananagot ang China? Sa Pinas? Why do PNoy obligate the US to help us? Because of the mutual defense treaty? I think this common sense – any sane country can dishonor a treaty if it will drag them down further. And why do pinoys self proclaim our friendship with the USA when pinoys deliberately boot them out from Pinas?

          Dude just in case you are not aware USA has $16Trillion national debt. US is cutting their military budget drastically, heck they’re even killing their space program. With Obama administration focusing too much on socialist agendas, I don’t see US drag themselves to another war. Besides China is US biggest trade partner and China owns the largest US debt. In-case your not aware – US economy is currently running on Fed Reserve stimulus program.

        2. @Jasper
          You seem to have convieniently forgotten that it was Mr. Aquino that started this whole mess with the chinese.
          Your president has stirred up a hornet’s nest…albeit a very very dangerous one.
          You will soon regret supporting this student council government.
          P.S.
          Troll Harder

    2. It is more better to be under USA then to be under China after all USA and Philippines are long time allies..China keeps on supporting the CPP/NPA in the Philippines their allies or what Filipino calls CPP/NPA TUTA ng China that creates chaos economic un instability extortion kidnapping robberies killings Creates traffic when their militants paid marchers on the road this is their endless campaign to put democracy down so that they the communist can rule this country oh GOD forbid that to happen to be ruled by a godless government…

  2. China is the newest bully… the imperialist power flexing its muscles in trying to grab territories and resources which is not theirs. Bring on the UN and the International Court of Justice to settle it once and for all.

    1. ^ I can hear China shouting “BRING IT ON!”. Has UN ever resolve any conflicts? Specially territorial conflicts.

  3. Yah, good luck with the UN doing anything other than voting on a possible boycott.. someday. China knows the world wants its cheap goods and also knows the UN will never enforce a true sanction of trade. The UN is and has been a paper-tiger from its very inception. No, the UN is useless here.

    China will continue to push for all it can get away with until faced with consequences that outweigh the benefit. That’s the only language bullies understand; brute force. We may have to go through the formalities of bringing out the US Navy, Philippine Forces before China backs down. Until then, they will grab whatever they can get hold of. It’s not as though they have any respect for copyrights, so why would treaties or ownership mean anything to them? That’s just the plain reality.

  4. ICJ’s rulings are never really binding, and neither would UN’s, what with China being a Security Council member. Let’s just hope UNCLOS’ arbitration favors us so China can *at least* find a middle ground.

  5. What exactly UN did in Cambodia? Congo? in Rwanda? in Syria? Yugoslavian War? WALA/NADA/NONE! oh you might argue that they did something – YEAH right! they did! after the damage has been done! Do you think UN will act immediately on this matter and in favor of Pinas?

  6. There is a quote somewhere that goes like this:

    “China will grow larger…”

    The removal of US bases back in 1991 was the biggest mistake, next to 1986 “yellow revolt”

    1. I believe I’ve heard that quote in a game. “Command & Conquer Generals”, if I’m not mistaken.

      1. Too right. Zero Hour ended with the US being defeated and sent back by the GLA, leaving China with the job of taking down their leaders and wiping out their cronies, frequently with Nuke Spamming the way I played it, and while the US goes isolationist in that game, everyone in Europe and Asia look up to China as the next big hero. Hell, the upcoming Command and Conquer game has the USA group replaced with European Forces, with China staying and the GLA coming back with a vengeance.

        1. If that’s how things will eventually turn out, then we pretty much know what’s in store for us in the future.

  7. Get used to it, the USA ain’t comin to the rescue this time.the RP told the USA 2 leave subic bay, RIGHT?
    so now they’ll by-pas the RP and divide what is at the bottom of the sea w/china. Shrewd move back in ’92, don’t look too bright now though, huh?

    1. Recently, the government’s letting them back on under specified terms, in exchange for helping us prep defenses. I’m not sure with the full details, but they’re coming back…

      1. The US, for all its lip service to the ideals of freedom, is only interested in profit and power, and they will only help us to the extent that it will also help them at some point in the future, whether immediate or long term.

        Our best bet as it stands is to get those countries with a vested interest in keeping China in check, such as Japan, considering that they also have territorial disputes with each other.

        1. It is not in the US best interest to have the Philippines, or its outlying islands, occupied by China. HOWEVER, kicking the US out, sends a clear message to many American voters that the IS should not give a damn about the Philippines.
          So you have to ask, what is in YOUR best interest? To have a USA that doesn’t give a damn about the Philippines?
          If thats what you want, then just keep posting like this. You are doing a good job at losing more and more territory to China while the US senate debate if they should do anything to help people who hate Americans.

        1. “US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday at the Asean meeting of foreign ministers made it clear that the United States will not interfere in the disputes between and among countries with China, even as he urged progress on a code of conduct to govern the hotly-disputed South China Sea.”

          tribuneonline dot org

  8. Kicking out the US Navy was one of the stupidest thing Filipinos ever did. Result of their pride that they can not afford. China is now the new master and will not play nice.
    Knowing how Filipinos think, they will just adopt. Hey maybe they will even like the Chinese way of treatment. Filipios like to vote and respect people who are responsible for their misery. case in point: Estrada was elected by the People of Manila to be their new mayor. The same person that the people of Manila rebelled against during the 2nd. EDSA revolution. Many Filipinos have “goldfish” memory so therefore they will accept China.

  9. To Mr. Barbero,

    I am just correcting your opinion that U.S. has owed China. That’s not really true. The U.S. Federal Government does not owed CHINA. It’s owed trillion of dollars from it’s SSS. They borrowed the SSS funds because of budget deficit. It’s true that some government bonds and U.S. private corporations were bought by China.But why involve U.S. in our problem with China? In order to confront this China, we have to do it by ourselves. I am not a Filipino citizen anymore but my heart still a Filipino. Pinoy is right. He gradually upgraded the Philippine military to defend the Philippines. We know that it’s a battle by a small country against a giant in Asia but if the shooting starts, I do not think the U.S. can afford to just watch.We have a mutual defense treaty and still active to date.Also the Philippines now has grown to 98 million population excluding those working abroad. China has standing 2 million army. Philippines just need 2 million M14 and M16 Bullets and Rifles. Mobilizing a million Phil. army is possible if we really need to. Just the National Peoples Army said: “We cannot fight this bastards in the water but we can fight them on land battles”

    1. Plus, US will never go to war with China, for the Philippines or Japan, or any country. Like someone said above, the US will only help to the extent that it will give them profit and power. A war with China will definitely negate that. So unfortunately, you’re on your own.

  10. If Philippines alone fighting against China, yup it does not have a chance in Naval battles. But let them invade our land. Then they will know the experience of Phil. Army, MNLF, MILF and New Peoples Army. China has no experience in War except during the Korean war and few skirmishes against Vietnam. If they invade our land that is a different story. As I said the Philippines is now 94 million. To mobilize an Army of 1million is possible. But nobody will think if worst comes to worst. Japan is smaller or same size of land mass than Philippines but Japan during was able to mobilized 2 million army during the 2nd world war.

  11. China is being a bully… First of all the 9 dash line thing is pathetic, for an island to be an island, it should sustain life, not some rock that sinks every time there’s a high tide, stating that those “islands” are part of your land mass boundary therefor expanding your territorial waters is out right laughable… It’s obvious that the Philippines owns that particular area under maritime law… Second any ADULT would know that going to court to settle a dispute is the mature way, it gives both parties the chance to have their arguments heard and come to an agreement… Only an immature child would start bombing shit out of impulse… China’s just dick sizing when they started moving their big ass ships… We should stay quiet and let them fit like the child they are… If they dare shot the first bullet, pay them back full, with interest… They say the Filipinos are weak and pathetic..? Lets see…

    1. Exactly bro.I agree.The problem is that China still thinking they are the strongest military in the world like Japan in the 1940’s. Just as a U.S. general said about China,”I own what is ours and I also own yours!”

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