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Philippines should think twice about acting belligerent

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV .com

11-30-2015 17:54 BJT

By Ling Dequan, Researcher, Center for World Affairs Studies, Xinhua News Agency

The Philippines media (Interaksyon) recently reported the Philippines Air Force plans to deploy 12 newly-purchased 12 FA-50PH supersonic fighters for operation.


The Philippines defense chief said the new aircraft will be assigned to Baasha AFB (Air Force Base), and Subic AFB with its Western armed forces headquarters located in Puerto Princesa.

South Korea would complete delivery of the aircraft, valued at $US402 million, in 2017. The first two aircraft have already arrived this month.
Meanwhile, the Philippines President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has increased tensions over the South China Sea dispute, which are deteriorating good relations with Beijing. The Chinese side does not appreciate that.

Beijing has attached significance to its traditional friendship with Manila, advocating bilateral negotiations for a peaceful solution in regards to islands and reefs, and maritime jurisdiction over the territorial waters in question.

Beijing has maintained goodwill towards Manila, requesting the two sides reconcile as good neighbors to safeguard the peace and stability in the region. Mutual cooperation can benefit both sides for regional stability.

Countries should move forward on reasonable purchases of arms for their defense. The Philippines is an archipelagic country with huge tasks to defend its territory, while responding to domestic terrorism.

Yet, Aquino's foreign policy towards the South China Sea issue appears belligerent to outside observers. The Philippines media announced the aircraft will be used for "sovereignty sky" patrol activities.

As long as the Philippines complies with its Constitution of the 1930s and its Law on Territorial Sea Baseline Bill in the 1960s, the Philippines fighter's activities within the scope of its territory airspace are legal.

Well, that's incorrect and they should not make such irresponsible remarks.

Manila is ignoring Beijing's firm opposition to the issue and trampling "Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea", while filing a lawsuit to the International Tribunal of The Hague.

The party who is guilty is usually the first to sue, and they are attempting to internationalize the South China Sea issue, which stands as a deliberate political provocation against China and diminishes Beijing's efforts to ease tensions.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he "does not think the International Tribunal on the Law of Sea would resolve the conflict."

If Manila deploys its aircraft over the reefs airspace or near waters, which China claims possession of, that would be a military provocation.

In the 1980s, former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping sought to "shelve differences and seek joint development" as peaceful means to resolve international disputes.

Deng Xiaoping told these remarks to the then-Vice President of the Philippines Salvador Laurel and President Cory Aquino, the current president's mother.

Deng hoped the Philippines would support peaceful settlement on the Nansha Islands dispute. On March 14, 2005, China, the Philippines and Vietnam reached an agreement to jointly carry out seismic surveys in the protocol waters.

This was a pragmatic breakthrough, but tripartite cooperation projects have been suspended and South China Sea disputes have transformed into a hot-button issue.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang had reaffirmed to ASEAN leaders and the international community that Beijing sticks to its South China Sea policy and "amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness" policy on neighboring diplomacy.

China expects countries in the region to seek common ground. However Aquino's actions have aroused concerns. What will be his legacy for Sino-Philippines relations? 

Just as an old Chinese saying goes, "It is better for the doer to undo what he has done." To help bilateral relations go back on track Aquino must take proactive steps. Hence, by taking actions a wish can turn into reality.

Aquino should not insist on sliding down the wrong road; don't take risks over the Nansha Islands and adjacent waters, which is playing with fire. China adheres to good-neighborly foreign policy for peaceful development. However, Beijing would never back down on external provocations.

Both sides should carry forward on "neighbors plus relatives" style of relations, recognizing that problems can be negotiable.

If someone deliberately challenges Beijing's bottom line, encroaches upon its territorial sovereignty reefs, Beijing would take necessary defensive measures. So, do not blame China for not having been forewarned.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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