THE 24th Asean Summit, held in Myanmar, on Saturday and Sunday, closed with the 10-country association showing that it has become a group willing to become vassals of the People’s Republic of China.
The most shamefaced advertisement of this willingness to kowtow to the Communist-Party-ruled China—which has been behaving as if it were ancient Imperial China that made vassals of the smaller kingdoms around it—is the joint statement of the 10 heads of state at the end of the Summit.
The joint statement contains not a single mention of China. The absence of China’s name—with its crimes of invasion and territory-grabbing against Vietnam and the Philippines—reminds us of the fear of blasphemy that vassals were imbued to have in their hearts and minds by the Sons of Heaven, the emperors of the Celestial Empire. Vassals became expert at pretending that the Chinese emperor, or even his lowest official who was feared for being the Son of Heaven’s representative, did not do awful things to them and their families. They kneeled and bowed so low as to touch the ground with foreheads in the perfect act of kowtow. They put on a happy face, like that of an idiot, when receiving maltreatment.
Ludicrously, the joint statement has the title of “The Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on the Realization of the Asean Community by 2015.” It contains fantasies of how the association is to become stronger and united in solidarity. It mocks itself and insults the leaders who signed it and the people they represent, except perhaps Cambodia, whose leaders have apparently decided to make themselves and their country a vassal state of China because it depends on Beijing for everything.
Throughout the Summit, the big thing Vietnam and the Philippines did not allow the other countries to forget is the violation of their dignity and territorial sovereignty by the People’s Republic of China.
Sharpening the tragedy of the affair is that the heads of state made speeches in which they spoke such bold and beautiful words as those of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. He said the maritime dispute should be “managed calmly, responsibly and rationally,” he called on all the parties to “exercise restraint” and “work together” for a peaceful settlement and abide by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. He urged the other leaders of Asean to resolve to be united “if we want to continue to be a respectable, reliable and relevant organization.”
He and others sounded as if they would come to the aid, at least morally, of the Philippines and Vietnam. President B. S. Aquino 3rd and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung both detailed to their peers how China has gravely violated Philippine and Vietnamese territory and in so doing the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (which China has vowed to abide by.)
The Vietnamese leader detailed China’s recent move to install a deepwater drilling rig in waters inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and within its exclusive economic zone.
President Aquino spoke about the Philippine case against China at the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in The Hague. He also described the warlike actions of China in our Ayungin and Scarborough (Panatag) Shoals, at our Kalayaan Island Group, at our Mabini Reef and the area near Palawan where our Galoc service contract is in operation.
No support for Vietnam and Philippines
Yet in the end, the Summit joint statement–which we suppose the Vietnam and the Philippine cotingent agreed to with a heavy heart—did not speak about the People’s Republic of China even if only to put on record that the association sympathized with China’s Asean-member victims.
People watching Asean and the maritime disputes are saying the regional association is doomed to vanish.
Some Americans are conscious of their country’s role in the world’s enjoyment of a certain kind of peace and stability that allows global commercial, cultural, educational, humanitarian and health and wellness cooperation to continue. They know that their country’s being the dominant economic and military power is what sustains this state of fragile peace.
Seeing that Asean could not, even by words, give the Philippines and Vietnam a semblance of support, they are asking—as the editorial of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday did—“Why should the US stand in for Asian nations?”
“The question for the United States becomes, if nations near China aren’t willing to speak with one voice and defend their interests on issues of sovereignty, then why should the United States?”
Why shouldn’t anyone–not just the USA–help prevent the weaker countries of Asean from becoming vassals of China, when they are manifestly willing to become the People’s Republic’s miserable kowtowers?