CHINA’s state-owned newspaper Global Times’ has exhorted its readers–and Chinese officials–to punish the Philippines and Vietnam with a “forced war.” That could be good for us Filipinos.
Yesterday, the Global Times editorial said, “The South China Sea disputes should be settled in a peaceful manner, but that doesn’t mean China can’t resort to non-peaceful measures in the face of provocation from Vietnam and the Philippines…. Many people believe that a forced war would convince some countries of China’s sincerely peaceful intentions.”
Global Times describes itself as an institution “under the People’s Daily.” That newspaper is the largest in terms of circulation in the whole world, with up to four million copies distributed daily. The UNESCO, the United Nations body that is tasked to protect and encourage the development of human culture and civilization throughout the globe, describes the People’s Daily as “one of the 10 most authoritative and most influential newspapers of the world.” Of course, it has to be authoritative and influential. Isn’t it owned and published by the government of the People’s Republic of China? Isn’t it known that when the highest leaders of China want to give government people a hint that a major decision is about to be announced they use the People’s Daily—and its subsidiary newspapers like Global Times?
Tensions escalated last week when Chinese ships entered Vietnamese waters and set up an oil rig in a part of the sea within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Vietnam immediately sent ships to the area and ramming incidents took place.
Vietnam raised an international howl. The Philippines issued statements supportive of Vietnam and critical of China.
China has actually taken over parts of the Philippines and has built permanent structures on shoals and reefs belonging to us. The Chinese are now building an airstrip there.
Vietnam and the Philippines have been drawn closer as allies against China, their bigger, rich and militarily powerful neighbor.
At the 24th Asean Summit hosted by Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam sought at least moral support from the 10-country association to include remarks about China’s bad behavior and words of sympathy for the victims. Vietnam and the Philippines were disappointed.
Filipinos joined Vietnamese friends in organizing a rally at the Chinese Embassy protesting China’s actions. In Vietnam, deadly riots erupted against China and Chinese establishments and factories.
US official gives China a most serious warning
The latest situation at the oil rig, according to a 6-hour old report at this writing by Agence France-Presse’s Carol Huang, is that “an AFP photographer who was taken by Vietnamese authorities to the scene of the maritime standoff saw dozens of Chinese ships, including naval vessels, facing off against Vietnamese ships near the controversial oil rig. Whenever Chinese vessels approached, the Vietnamese ships broadcast messages saying: ‘We are warning you — you are entering Vietnamese sea waters, violating our exclusive economic zone and the law of the sea.’ At one point, what appeared to be a Chinese surveillance plane flew overhead.”
In a Reuters report from Washington, DC, a top US official (who requested anonymity) voiced the most serious American words about China’s aggressive behavior so far. He said, “China’s activities are straining the US-China relationship because it raises questions about our ability to partner together in Asia or even bilaterally.” Earlier, on Thursday, at a meeting with a top Chinese general visiting the White House,
US Vice President Joe Biden “underscored the United States’ serious concern about China’s unilateral actions in waters disputed with Vietnam.”
China’s foreign ministry spokesman attacked Biden’s reported statement. And the Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, Gen. Fang Fenghui, said China would not back down from operating the oil rig. He said the territory was “passed down by our ancestors into the hands of our generation. We cannot afford to lose an inch.”
He obviously does not recognize the legal rights of other countries established by international conventions and the law of the sea. He also does not seem to know that the South China/West Philippine Sea is our—the Southeast Asians’—maritime heartland since time immemorial, many centuries before the isolationist people and officials of the Celestial Empire ventured into the seas.
So General Fang will sic the PLA navy and air force on us Filipinos and Vietnamese.
And Global Times has just provided “proof” that the Chinese people like the idea of killing Vietnamese and Filipinos.
Last line of the Pambansang Awit
A “forced” war suggested by Global Times could actually be good for us Filipinos. We who are so wishy-washy about our love of country, about caring for each other, about standing up to the bully China.
Maybe having People’s Liberation Army soldiers kill some of our people–as they did 30,000 Vietnamese when the PLA crossed the Vietnamese border on Feb. 17, 1979 and waged a war of invasion for two weeks–will make us as good as we were during the Japanese Occupation.
Maybe it will again make us take to heart the last line of our National Anthem: “Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo.”