By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
June 18, 2019
In focusing on the issue of the West Philippine Sea and looking at the involvements of the Philippines, China and US, we must understand the following points:
- China is in gross violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and in contempt of the 2016 judgment of the Permanent Arbitration Court in favor of the Philippines by continuing to pursue the unlawful claim of ownership over 90 percent of the South China Sea; encroaching on 100 percent of the extended continental shelf and at least 80 percent of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines; and building and militarizing artificial islands within the Philippine EEZ.
- Only after the militarized artificial islands have been built has the US invoked the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty against them only to justify the buildup of US military positions in Philippine territory but has not actually done anything more than undertake freedom of navigation operations singly or in combination with other countries.
- Indeed, the US and all other countries have the right and freedom to navigate the high seas of the South China Sea and to demonstrate disdain for and rejection of China’s pompously false claim of owning the high seas and practically the entirety of the South China Sea.
- Until now, both the Duterte and the US governments have failed to use or simply invoke the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty if only to make a serious condemnation of China’s invasion of Philippine EEZ, get the support of the international community for the appropriate diplomatic actions and lay the ground for certain effective legal actions short of waging war or blowing up the artificial islands at its weak points and letting the sea swallow them.
- The Philippines can file legal suit against China in the US where it has financial assets. These can be held to account for China’s violation of the UNCLOS and the Philippine EEZ, for the destruction of the marine environment by building the artificial islands and for the rent involved for the duration of Chinese occupation of these islands. Even the US was once compelled to pay for damages caused by a US military vessel to Tubbataha Reef.
- As traitor and paid agent of China and Chinese drug syndicates, Duterte has been shamelessly trying to frighten the Filipino people by harping on the line that China would declare war on the Philippines should the latter insist on upholding and defending its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. For the information of all, China is actually afraid of waging war because this would belie and upset its so-called peaceful rise, cause social instability within China among the poor Chinese who are still in the hundreds of millions and favor the US in its attempts to undermine and weaken China.
- Engineers aver that the artificial islands built by the China in the Philippine EEZ are actually vulnerable due to their relatively small size and reef foundation. Their weak points can be easily exploded to allow the sea to swallow the islands. A high American military official once boasted that the US has plenty of experience in blowing up islands in the Pacific. But before any fireworks can happen, there are possible diplomatic and legal actions that can compel China to respect Philippine sovereign rights and even pay for damages it has inflicted.