HomeCommentaryDespite Manila’s protests, Beijing gets what it wants

Despite Manila’s protests, Beijing gets what it wants

Beijing lies when it says it is Manila’s friend. All its acts are belligerent.

“A diplomat is a gentleman who can tell a lie in such a manner to another gentleman (who is also a diplomat) that the second gentleman is compelled to let on that he really believes the first gentleman, although he knows that the first gentleman is a liar, who knows that the second gentleman does not believe him, yet both let on that each believes the other, while both know that both are liars.” (Herbert V. Prochnow)

Beijing lies when it says it is Manila’s friend. All its acts are belligerent. It occupies or blockades nine western Philippine reefs, shoals and islets. Its warships machine gun and water cannon Filipino boats approaching those traditional fishing grounds. Filipino exploration vessels are chased away.

China’s Communist Party deploys its fisheries militia to poach in exclusive Philippine waters. One steel trawler rammed an anchored Filipino wooden boat and left the 22 fishermen floating in the cold night sea. The CCP even justified the hit-and-run, a breach of international maritime law.

The People’s Liberation Army taunts Filipino defense forces. Bombers and troop transports test-land on airstrips concreted in the occupied reefs. Fighters routinely barge into Luzon airspace. Spy vessels trespass Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi and Tubbataha reefs between Palawan and Panay. One PLA frigate aimed weapons at a Philippine Navy patrol near Malampaya gas field.

Beijing has neo-colonial designs on the Philippines – revealed in 1989. It designated a virtual Great Wall at sea along the Philippine west coast to Taiwan and Okinawa as a First Island Chain of Defense. A Second Island Chain connects the Philippine east coast, also to the two northern territories that Beijing claims to historically possess.

The plot has unraveled. Chinese warships traverse Philippine waters around Batanes, the sea lane from Balabac to Surigao Strait, and Sibutu Strait. They illegally explore the Philippine (Benham) Rise east of Luzon.

Part of the plot is to soften Filipinos. The CCP puts up national, congressional and local Manchurian candidates. Its United Front department influences via inducements Filipino academics, security specialists and businessmen. It abets shabu shipments to addle the minds of Filipino youths.

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In March Chinese militia trawlers swarmed Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, like last year, to attempt annexation. In April the China Coast Guard dropped fishnets and buoys to prevent Filipino sailors from resupplying Marines in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal. The CCG insisted that the Filipinos take a shallow but treacherous route instead.

Beijing was making it clear that Philippine vessels may only reach Ayungin with its permission and that it can prevent this anytime, says international maritime lawyer Jay Batongbacal, PhD. “So, if we act the way they expect us to, we lose.”

As active defense, retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio suggests that Manila build permanent civilian outposts on Ayungin and other West Philippine Sea features. Retired general Edilberto Adan, Advocates for National Interest chairman, proposes arming Filipino coastguards with water cannons. Asserting Philippine control over its waters is essential.

Geopolitics professor Renato de Castro, PhD, says coastguards must protect Filipino fishermen from Chinese harassment. Former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario seeks more naval exercises with Philippine allies and tabling Beijing’s bellicosity at the UN General Assembly.

So far Manila only protests Beijing’s mounting provocations. Some leaders are subservient, unconstitutionally giving the top CCP commissar unlimited fishing rights in Philippine seas. Others are defeatist, proclaiming as futile buying patrol helicopters and boats.

At one point, Beijing’s lackeys tried to dislodge the Philippine Fleet from its main port in Sangley Point, Manila Bay. Failing that, it got its state-owned telecoms firm to put up cell sites in Philippine military camps, to eavesdrop on or sabotage government plans.

​Beijing’s foreign ministry is exhilarated. “A diplomat is a fellow that lets you do all the talking while he geats what he wants.” (Kin Hubbard)

Jarius Bondoc is an award-winning Filipino journalist and author based in Manila. He writes opinion pieces for The Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon and hosts a radio program on DWIZ 882 every Saturday.

This article is published with permission from the author. The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.

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