Home > Uncategorized > South China Sea, Wolves Crying Wolf

South China Sea, Wolves Crying Wolf

Recently, South China Sea territorial disputes seem to heat up in the Media.  China is once again, accused of notching up aggression because of its increase might.

A good time to examine the truths in the disputes, and the media coverage of the issue.

Huffington Re-Post covered 1 side of the issue via an analysis done by a consultant and a lawy professor from Philippines (needless to say which side the analysis is taking, needless to attribute bias purely on that basis), but let’s discuss some of the point of that analysis.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-wagner/chinas-preimperial-overst_1_b_877720.html

(1) the title blasts China’s “preimperial overstretch”.  Yet, admittedly it is an old territorial dispute.  In that, it’s not a new issue.

(2) “China has become a master at pushing right up to the boundary of internationally acceptable behavior, then briefly crossing over the line, retreating, and doing the same again, until it establishes a ‘new normal’ for what is deemed to be acceptable.”

Yet, in the same article, the author minimizes China’s claim by saying, “It was only in 1992 when China first attempted to occupy one of the eight islands in the Spratlys”, while Philippines dates its claim back to “OCCUPATION” back in the 1947.

So, China was not aggressive up to 1992, therefore, it has no claim, whereas Philippines has valid claim, because it was aggressively occupying the Spratlys since 1947?

Hey, let’s compare “aggressiveness”.  Here is a map of Spratlys in 1995, marking various countries’ occupation posts.

Count the markers.  I counted 8 post markers for China, 2 for ROC, and 10 for Philippines.  Vietnam actually had the most markers in the Spratlys.

So, it’s OK for Philippines and Vietnam to build up outposts on the islands and patrol the oceans, but not China?

(3) “Liu Jianchao, the Chinese Ambassador in Manila, called upon the Philippines to halt all oil exploration without Beijing’s prior consent.”

While the authors of the article points this as aggressive posturing from China, the fact is, the Chinese Ambassedor is actually pointing out a law from UNCLOS (UN Convention on Laws of Sea), which Philippines has “demanded” that China follow.

Part III, Section 2, Article 40 of UNCLOS states, “During transit passage, foreign ships, including marine scientific research and hydrographic survey ships, may not carry out any research or survey activities without the prior authorization of the States bordering straits.”

Philippines, Vietnam and China (and other nations) dispute each other’s claim on Spratly.  It is only to follow UNCLOS to consult each other prior to exploration and survey activities.

*

Western Media, (and others) have been jumping overall to cry the big bad wolf of China coming to swallow up the South China Sea with gun boats.  But neglects to mention that Vietnam and Philippines have made the “normality” of building outposts and patrols and unilateral surveying missions in the South China Sea, in the last 60 years, in the mad dash to stake out their own territorial claims.

China is actually the late comer, now playing the game the same way Philippines and Vietnam have been playing in South China Sea.  (Also the same way that Japan has played in the disputed island area of Diaoyutai/Senkaku).

If China is wrong to send patrol boats to disputed areas, or building outposts in those areas, Why are there also patrol boats from Vietnam and Philippines, and more outposts from Vietnam and Philippines?

Reality is, this is how territorial disputes escalates.  Each side aggressively stake out their own claims, trying to beat the others to it.  And if you don’t assert your claims, you essentially abandoned your claims.  (For example, the Authors of the articles essentially dismissed China’s claim by saying China was not aggressive enough or early enough to occupy the Spratlys prior to 1947).

Is it that abnormal to expect China to play the game the same way?  Obviously not.

It is potentially dangerous, but one could hardly expect China to simply give up its claims.

*Philippines and Vietnam have resorted to crying for help from US.

Philippines has attempted to invoke a mutual defense treaty with US.  Vietnam has hinted to offer to base US naval ships in South Vietnam.

I have no complaints about geopolitical plays and stratagems, each nation has their own interests to protect.

But I simply warn, such plays are also altering the rules of the game, and escalating it beyond merely disputes over who can patrol and build outposts where.  Which will only cause China and other nations to respond in kind and play by the new rules.

If Vietnam and Philippines are using “geopolitical ties” to buttress their own hands, then one should realize that China has no shortage of “geopolitical” influences either.

Vietnam may think to play US against China, but it should realize, China is an economic backer of Vietnamese government, and US is out to “reform” Vietnamese political system.  US has no reservations about imposing a “democracy” on Vietnam if it is convenient, and make a DEAL with China to do it.  (Just remember Vietnam War, and how US made a deal with China to bring Vietnam to negotiation table.)

Philippines should realize that China is also an economic backer of Philippines.  While China generally trade without bringing political issues, MAJOR political issues will impact trade relations, certainly if it goes into border war mode (as cried about by Philippines.

Before crying wolf, nations should realize that it is not to their advantage to play the game this way.  China is not going to be forced back away from its claims, and its behaviors are predicated by the behaviors of others in the same game, nothing more, nothing less.

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  1. June 16th, 2011 at 10:43 | #1

    This is a typical Western media narrative – they really prefer to see the Asians become confrontational. Vietnam, China, and Philippines will have to find a solution by themselves as grown ups, and I think they largely are.

    U.S. geopoliticians are interested in creating a real stake in that area for the U.S.. But I think the U.S. is spread way too thin, and elements within Vietnam and Philippines who prefer drawing the U.S. in will get disappointed in the long run. My guess anyways.

  2. June 16th, 2011 at 10:59 | #2

    YinYang,

    Undoubtedly, US is just salivating over the possibility that Asians need US to come in and solve their problems.

    And the media hype of the escalation is largely reflective of US’s desperate hope for new geopolitical relevance in Asia.

  3. raventhorn2000
    June 16th, 2011 at 14:22 | #3

    As a sign of China’s influence, no doubt US find itself increasingly reliant upon China’s aid in dealing with geopolitical issues.

    Sudan is officially headed toward splitting into North Sudan and South Sudan, but the border demarcation has been contested by both sides, and now Sudan is headed toward escalating around of disputes that could unravel the official separation into a full scale bloody Civil War.

    US can’t react, given that US is seen as leaning toward the Southern Sudanese. US simply cannot bring both sides to the negotiating table, until well after a military conflict turns bloody.

    Now US is asking China’s help to prevent the possibility of the escalation toward War in Sudan.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/16/3706332/us-seeks-chinas-help-in-sudan.html

    Vietnam and Philippines should take note the difference: Yes, you can start a war with US’s help, but you will likely need China to end it (even US knew that back at the end of Vietnam War).

  4. D858
    June 16th, 2011 at 17:07 | #4

    Are Southeast Asian countries asserting their territorial claims more strongly than before? If so, then it could be attached to their recent military deals with the U.S.

    They would think that they can drag the U.S. into any conflict and have the U.S. do their military work for them, so they won’t have to put in as much effort. I don’t necessarily blame them for that, because everyone should be able to take advantage of a good deal.

    Just saying that this kind of thing has happened before with Israel vs. Palestine, Japan vs. Russia, and NATO vs. Libya, where governments get a lot more confident when they think the U.S. will do the work for them.

  5. raventhorn2000
    June 16th, 2011 at 18:10 | #5

    At the end of the day, smaller countries should realize that if they get large nations like US and China into a tussle, Smaller countries are the pawns on the board, not the players. US and China will be the players. Pawns will be sacrificed.

  6. xian
    June 16th, 2011 at 20:41 | #6

    Well there’s a sight for sore eyes… if only we can be this objective all the time
    China has already locked down the Paracels, the rest will follow suit over time

  7. Charles Liu
    June 17th, 2011 at 09:34 | #7

    And watch the media drum the “China new colonialism” thing over the weekend:

    http://news.google.com/news/search?q=china+new+colonialism

  8. raventhorn2000
    June 18th, 2011 at 12:14 | #8

    At the root of the new escalating tension?

    http://www.interaksyon.com/article/5927/claimants-in-race-to-explore-patrol-spratlys

    Philippines, China, Vietnam had a Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) from 2005-2008.

    Philippines has refused to renew the tripartite treaty, complaining that the JMSU covered area, which WAS disputed, should not be considered disputed any more, but rather Philippines’ exclusive economic development zone. (Because apparently, Philippines thinks the JMSU puts them on the losing side).

    So now, Philippines is basically disputing that a dispute existed over some area (previously acknowledged as disputed by Philippines).

    Hm… Not renewing treaty may be Philippines’ prerogative, but China didn’t change the norm of exchanges in the region.

  9. June 20th, 2011 at 07:01 | #9

    http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20110620-284985.html

    Article first published by Singapore newspaper, “The New Paper”, shows distortion of facts.

    The image of the map of occupied islands, attributed 2 islands erroneously to Chinese control, one at “Ladd Reef”, which if googled would clearly show that Vietnam has occupied, the other, occupied by Taiwan, is also shown as occupied by China.

    *
    However, Philippines has undertoned but also soberly complained about Vietnam’s aggressive buildup in Spratly.

    http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=689852&publicationSubCategoryId=63

    “The documents also noted that Vietnam has been “the most active” in strengthening the defensive capabilities of its outposts.

    Apart from Vietnam, the Philippines is the other country known to maintain an airstrip in its territory. The document indicated that “China has not attempted” to build an airstrip in any of the territories it occupies.”

    Sounds like to me, all the complaints about China is really just complaints about each other.

  10. June 20th, 2011 at 08:01 | #10

    a more sobering analysis.

    http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Rhetorical-bellicosity&id=33359

    “The US probably will not help, when it comes to the disputes between China and the small ASEAN nations, more likely agreeing with China that these matters should be handled bilaterally, beyond ASEAN or APEC (where the US is a member) and not with the help of a sympathetic big-power ally.

    ****”Remember that unlike China, the US has signed the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, but has not ratified it. This means it has promised not to undertake any action that might defeat the convention’s goals, but it does not consent to be legally bound by its provisions.”

    The last part is a hint hint.

  11. June 20th, 2011 at 08:10 | #11

    Although Philippines has no doubt felt its need to assert its claims, I think its reaction of sending its largest warship, an aging WWII 3500 ton destroyer escort to the area, is a bit more kneejerking than any thing else.

    Similarly, Vietnam’s naval exercise.

    China has already reportedly built an oil rig in the Spratly. At this point, it really doesn’t matter how many outposts nations build in the area. It’s about starting to tap off the oil and the gas as quickly as possible.

  12. kchew
    June 20th, 2011 at 16:05 | #12

    When it comes to oil exploration, China is way ahead since it can build and operate modern fleet of oil exploration and drilling vessels. The rest of the Asean countries are still highly dependent on foreign operators where the cost will certainly be much higher.
    Asean members also have territorial dispute with each other. For example, the Filipinos are still claiming the Sabah state of Malaysia. Here is how Wiki describes it:

    North Borneo dispute refers to the status of northeastern part of the state of Sabah in Malaysia. Sabah was previously known as North Borneo prior to the formation of the Malaysian federation in 1963. The Philippines through the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu claim the northeastern part of Sabah as part of their territory on the basis that that part of Sabah was only leased to the British North Borneo Company.

    Therefore skillful Chinese diplomats should be able to use such disputes to ensure that other Asean countries will not stand against China in the spats with Vietnam and the Philippines.

  13. raventhorn2000
    June 20th, 2011 at 17:12 | #13

    The whole thing probably started because Philippines and Vietnam realized that they were all far behind China in oil exploration in the Spratly.

    They hope to rouse up enough noise to get China to “share”.

  14. June 21st, 2011 at 06:31 | #14

    Philippines and Vietnam say publicly that they want “multilateral negotiations” with China.

    But come to think of it, the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) between China, Vietnam and Philippines WAS a multilateral treaty, which Philippines is now refusing to renew.

    Apparently, multilateralism was not good enough for Philippines and Vietnam, they merely want a NEW multilateral negotiation to get better terms.

    I don’t think China was against multilateralism, seeing how it was willing to go along with the JMSU.

    But this time, if new negotiation is wanted, then China should offer the other ASEAN claimants of Spratly the same terms as what Vietnam and Philippines had under JMSU, and see what they think (Taiwan, Brunei, and Malaysia).

    There was nothing in JMSU that favored China over the others.

    I would bet Brunei and Malaysia would rather go with JMSU with China. With all the talk of “multi-lateralism” from Vietnam and Philippines, they offered nothing to Brunei and Malaysia at all.

  15. denk
    June 21st, 2011 at 19:52 | #15

    according to this jerk philip bowring,
    han chinese are the *main driver* of chinese imperialism
    the south china sea conflict is a han vs malay life n death struggle

    *The carrier Shi Lang will surely add to that awareness. Meanwhile one tide has turned in favor of the Malays/Austronesians which may ultimately count for more than weaponry – demography. The Han Chinese population, so long the main driver of expansion of the Chinese state, is peaking out. The Malays’ and Austronesians’ numbers are still growing*
    http://tinyurl.com/62vd5to

    i called him out for his evil scheme
    they banned me from their site

  16. June 22nd, 2011 at 06:16 | #16

    People like Philip Bowring would see any amount of China’s rise as a threat to “peace”.

    It’s the same tired racist argument of the “Yellow Horde”.

    Even with an absence of China in South China Sea, the other claimants of Spratly would still bicker over it. And it would be Philippines and Vietnam doing the bullying. (They are the ONLY 2 claimants with Airstrips in Spratly).

    ROC is protesting Philippines and Vietnam’s claims on Spratly. Why doesn’t any one report that?

    Brunei and Malaysia surly realize that if Philippines and Vietnam can push China around or out of Spratly, using US backing, then their claims would be much easier to brush aside.

    It’s not “multi-lateralism” that Philippines and Vietnam are pursuing, they are pursuing merely US backing for their OWN unilateral claims.

    Obviously, US is quite cautious about getting into the middle of this. (Afterall, US did NOT sign the UNCLOS, because it wanted to maintain its superior position to unrestrictedly roam its navy all over the world, AND conduct bi-lateral negotiations with weaker nations 1 on 1, such as with Mexico and Canada. Obviously, US is not going to let Mexico and the Latin American countries “gang up” on US regarding territorial water control.)

    ASEAN governments naturally understand (despite some nationalistic movements) the following analogy poem:

    Do not take from me my cornerstone,
    For I am the Strong Wall against which you lean.
    Do not dig into my roots,
    For I am the Tree that sheltered you against the Wind.

    Fools dig for gold under their own foundations.
    Fools litter upstream.

    If I fall,
    The Earth will shake,
    The wind will change direction,
    My dust will crush all around me.

  17. raventhorn2000
    June 22nd, 2011 at 07:41 | #17

    Another possible reason why Philippines is picking this issue right now is that Philippines is still fighting with its Communist insurgents numbering in the 10,000’s.

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/breakingnews/philippine-troop-clashes-with-communist-rebels-leave-7-dead-17-wounded.html

    Furthermore, the Nationalists in Philippines are using the Spratly issue to question the loyalty of “leftists” in their government. The “Leftists” in Philippines are AGAINST “dragging US” into the issue.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/16990/leftist-solons-seek-china-probe

    *
    On the side note, I also consider it possible that US is using the issue to fan Nationalist sentiments in Vietnam, in order to further agitate “democratic” overthrown of the Vietnamese Communist government. At least force the Vietnamese Communist government to break ties with China, and in the process, anger China, and cause the Vietnamese Communist government to become isolated and more prone to US “democracy” spreading.

    Openly, online, it is many of the anti-Communist Vietnamese websites hosted in the West that voice Nationalist sentiments on this issue (agitating for US military help), and perpetually criticizing the Vietnamese Communist Government as being “soft” in confronting China.

    *all and all, much of this dispute issue NOW has to do with the internal politics of Vietnam and Philippines, and little to do with the actual dispute.

  18. June 22nd, 2011 at 10:38 | #18

    @raventhorn2000

    all and all, much of this dispute issue NOW has to do with the internal politics of Vietnam and Philippines, and little to do with the actual dispute.

    This Op-Ed in China Daily by Jin Yongming seems to think so too.

    For order in South China Sea
    By Jin Yongming (China Daily)
    Updated: 2011-06-22 07:54

    The root of the ongoing South China Sea dispute is the unilateral actions of Vietnam and the Philippines. The two countries have intensified their efforts to exploit resources and occupy parts of Nansha and Xisha islands, and dismantled plaques China had set up on the Nansha Islands to signify its maritime boundary.

    The United States, which is not part of the region, has added fuel to fire by demanding freedom of navigation and holding joint military exercises in the seas off China.

    Therefore, resolving the South China Sea issue, especially the jurisdiction of the Nansha Islands, with reason and guaranteeing navigation security and freedom are a challenge that the international community faces. To maintain order and ensure that the situation does not deteriorate further, all parties to the dispute should abide by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

  19. raventhorn2000
    June 22nd, 2011 at 16:42 | #19

    I think it is time for China to reconsider its past strict non-interventionist policies.

    I do not suggest a future Imperialist/Colonial expansionist policies for China to deal with its neighbors, but China can no longer afford to let foreign powers prop up anti-China regimes all around China, while China only resort to blanket trade and “historical claims” to assert its own national interests.

    China must use all of its influences to ensure its interests are protected.

    Certainly, China should not use military force to interfere in the domestic affairs of others, nor occupy others, nor nation build others, nor prop up friendly regimes by force.

    But certainly, we in the era where other nations are forcing China into showdowns of power and force.

    The best way to prevent a conflict is to ensure that other nations understand that China is willing to play the geopolitical game of “REGIME CHANGE” if pushed to do so. (Why not? When others are clamoring to push Regime Changes onto China?)

    The West speaks of China should be more “responsible”, while it spouts “regime changes” all over the world.

    Then, I say China should join the “responsible” game, and push a few “regime changes” for its own national interests.

  20. denk
    June 22nd, 2011 at 18:27 | #20

    amerikka has been the dark hand behind all these unrests n flare ups in n around china
    ….tibet, xinjiang, mongolia, east china sea, korea, south china sea

    why are mia search teams in vietnam staffed with veteran Operation Desert Storm officers and men experienced only in infantry, artillery, and logistics operations ?
    http://www.usvetdsp.com/story50.htm

    War games with US targeted China
    http://tinyurl.com/d7gqzp

    meet naato
    nato’s asian franchise
    http://tinyurl.com/28bu3p6

  21. June 23rd, 2011 at 08:16 | #21

    I don’t think Vietnam and Philippines actually thought through their policy actions/threats very carefully.

    Speaking on the legal issues of UNCLOS, while Vietnam and Philippines may accuse China of violating the UNCLOS, they have not filed complaints in UNCLOS on the matter (1 of the UNCLOS judges is actually a recently appointed Chinese judge, I believe, for better or worse).

    But at the same time, Vietnam proposed to base US navy ships in South Vietnam, and Philippines’ president has even attempted to invoke Mutual Defense treaty with US. Both attempting to bring US into the South China Sea.

    While both policies are undoubtedly nationalistic threats more than any thing else, but both have potentially legally negative consequences to Vietnam and Philippines.

    As signatory ratifiers of the UNCLOS, Vietnam and Philippines effectively promised not to interfere with other UNCLOS parties’ rights in sea territories, even rights under dispute.

    However, US is not a ratifier of UNCLOS. That means, by hosting US in South Vietnam, by invoking the Mutual defense treaty, Vietnam and Philippines are effectively inviting US to come into South China Sea and do as US pleases.

    Legally, if US violates the terms of UNCLOS on any UNCLOS parties, including China, the violating actions of US are impuned onto Vietnam and Philippines, (Because they were the UNCLOS parties that invited US, hosted US, and even invoked US for “mutual defense”).

    US already regularly conduct surveillance of Chinese naval bases within China’s 200 mile Economic Exclusion Zone, using airplanes and naval vessels. (US claim that those are international waters, and US has no obligation to observe the terms of UNCLOS). Such surveillances are AGAINST the terms of UNCLOS.

    Consequently, if US does take up Vietnam and Philippines’ offer, and subsequently conduct surveillance of Chinese naval bases in China’s EEZ, then Vietnam and Philippines would have actively induced another party to violate the UNCLOS, over an unsettled territorial dispute.

    If that being the case, China can file complaints in UNCLOS, or China can declare its own withdrawal from the UNCLOS as applied to the South China Sea.

  22. raventhorn2000
    June 23rd, 2011 at 15:51 | #22

    US has decided to symbolically back Philippines by selling them 2nd hand coast guard and military equipment.

    *In light of recent events, I believe that China should reconsider its long held strict adherence to “non-interference”,

    and move toward a policy framework of “Counter-interventionism”.

    While China treads with kit-gloves on, Western nations are encroaching ever closer into China’s surroundings and attempting to isolate China.

    China’s historical claims are somehow turned into “new aggressions”. (Well, duh, China has over 4000 years of history, of course it can trace back its historical claims back REALLY far back! What’s surprising about Chinese first claiming Spratly?!)

    China must no longer react and react.

    It must at least be more proactive in its reactions.

    If a neighbor colludes with a foreign power to rob you, would you simply sit awake at night waiting for it to happen?

    Must China wait until the mob outside gathers beyond China’s ability to defend herself?

    No, I say.

    If the West is “regime changing” those around China to influence them to isolate China, then China must influence back.

    For example, Philippines has Communist Rebels and is prone to military coups. Vietnamese Communist Government is economically dependent upon China.

    China should not use force easily, but it is clear that proxy wars are being declared all around China. Why shouldn’t China fight back via proxy influences.

    *It seems to me that China is too concerned about leaving unfriendly neighbors in “peace” and “stability”. If they want to confront China by force, then a little internal chaos may remind them that their own houses may burn.

    While I may sound aggressive and colonial, it is far from it. Realistically, I cannot image a China that would use military force and sanctions to bomb and starve other nations into submission, or to pay $ billions to prop up hopeless but friendly regimes.

    No, China should not imitate Western interventionism, but China must practically Counter Western Interventionism, efficiently.

    This would be the ONLY way to avoid escalating violence in the LONG run. Backing down is not an option, that will only leave others believing that China can be pushed around even more.

    In the interest of Long term strategic stability around the world, China must step up and begin to use its influences to counter Western Interventionism, STARTING in China’s own backyard.

  23. raventhorn2000
    June 24th, 2011 at 05:27 | #23

    While superficially, US and Philippines are flexing their “collective muscle” against China now, there are already signs of cracks in the old Colonial era type “alliance” revival.

    At the heart of the matter, it is simply about money.

    While Philippines cries strongly and nationalistically, it really wants MONEY from US, Free money and Free military equipment.

    While US also really wants Philippines to arm itself strongly, it also really wants money from Philippines, money to BUY US weapons and equipment.

    In the past, similar efforts to revamp Philippines’ weak military resulted in an adhoc arrangement from early 2000, in which US paid around $50 million a year and Philippines contributed $500 million a year to jointly revamp Philippines’ military.

    But it was a process of “2 steps back, and 1 step forward”, as characterized by US Senators involved in the deal.

    The simple reality is that Philippines is looking for “borrowed muscle” from US, not “collective muscle”, and US is looking for a Muscle buying customer, not another freeloader.

    And that is the fundamental disagreement in the perception of the relationship between US and Philippines, each thinking more in terms of 1 way benefits.

    It’s not usual that a US client state would feel the need to squeeze US for some cash or military equipment, by playing up some fear of US. Afghanistan’s playboy president Karzai has been doing it for years, receiving $BILLIONS in US aid, while talking the threat of terrorism, and at the same time criticizing the way US occupies/bombs Afghanistan.

    Philippines (and Vietnam) are just the latest to get into the game.

  24. raventhorn2000
    June 24th, 2011 at 08:31 | #24

    Just as a side note,

    US does regularly conduct military surveillance on China in China’s EEZ. The Hainan EP3 collision occurred ~75 miles from Hainan Island. The 2009 US surveillance vessel that complained of being harassed by Chinese fishing vessels was also about 75 miles from Hainan Island.

    Under UNCLOS (which US did not ratify), such espionage activities would not be allowed within China’s EEZ.

    Thus, If China established the entirety of China’s claimed territory of South China Sea as China’s, then China’s EEZ would effectively block or render difficult ALL US military surveillance in SE Asia (with eventually Chinese naval capability to enforce the UNCLOS in the EEZ).

    US, in such a case, would much rather see weak Philippines and Vietnam claim larger portion of EEZ in the South China Sea, and that would allow US to continue to conduct its military surveillance in South East Asia.

  25. raventhorn2000
    June 27th, 2011 at 06:03 | #25

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/18383/honasan-not-impressed-with-us-pledge-of-help

    As I speculated earlier, Philippines really just wanted more US aid.

    On the other hand, US obviously has little “free money” to give (considering what it’s spending in Iraq, Afgahnistan, and now Libya). US is offering no more than the general “resolutions” and statements.

    Once Philippines knows that it can’t squeeze much out of US, it will have little choice but to negotiate with China.

  26. raventhorn2000
    June 27th, 2011 at 06:09 | #26

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/world/asia/27vietnam.html

    Vietnam and China have agreed to negotiate further but quickly.

    I think Vietnam’s leadership is realizing that the Nationalist sentiments don’t help their own situations much.

    (Perhaps some Vietnamese leaders thought that Nationalism could help take some heat off the government’s inability to deal with the rising economic problems in Vietnam, plagued with hyperinflations and rising basic food prices, etc., but obviously it’s not working).

    Instead, Vietnamese dissident groups are capitalizing the rising Nationalism to organize and challenge the Government.

  27. June 28th, 2011 at 06:28 | #27

    http://inhofe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=8b0165b5-d57e-3e59-1b49-22bfe44d3f01

    Text of US Senate’s resolution “deploring” China’s “use of force” in South China Sea.

    The Senate essentially brought in the kitchsink of its own grievances, including the Hainan incident.

    However, pointedly, “Whereas, in March 2011, the Government of the Philippines reported that patrol boats from China attempted to ram 1 of its surveillance ships.”

    Philippines is well aware that use of “surveillance ships” in disputed waters is NOT “innocent passage” covered under UNCLOS.

    And neither is US’s use of surveillance planes and ships within China’s EEZ.

    “Whereas, in September 2010, the Government of China also deliberately provoked a controversy within the waters of the Senkaku Islands, territory under the legal administration of Japan in the East China Sea.”

    Change that to the Senate of US also deliberately provoked a controversy within South China Sea, and we are back in full circle.

  28. raventhorn2000
    July 6th, 2011 at 15:40 | #28

    http://www.realityofaid.org/userfiles/roareports/roareport_452449c76e.pdf

    China has provided cheap loans and aid to Philippines, only to see the projects mired in Philippines corruption.

    http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=582641&publicationSubCategoryId=63

    And now, Philippines questions China’s motives for giving them aid.

    I guess the Americans were right for once. They stop giving Philippines aid, because they knew it would amount to nothing, except very expensive shoe collections for corrupt leaders.

    Not long now, China will turn off the aid to get to its own domestic economics.

  29. raventhorn2000
    July 9th, 2011 at 10:43 | #30

    I have no doubt that there were some economic diplomatic arm twisting that China used to get the ASEAN nations to pipe down. (Or realistically, getting the pragmatists and wealthy elites of those nations to get the point across for China).

    Of course, Philippines and Vietnam probably realized fairly quickly that they can’t get US to cozy up to them with fists full of dollars as gifts that easily.

    US is no chump in the Imperialism game. Their “help” was never cheap.

    China may be aggressively pursuing its “historical claims”, but “alternative to China” is US? Seriously?!

    US doesn’t need any claims to send its warships all over the world.

    1 lesson in world politics, if you think you are a wolf and you want to hang out with the wolf pack, just remember 1 FACT about real wolves: Wolves often eat other wolves!!!

  30. July 9th, 2011 at 22:25 | #31

    @raventhorn2000 #30,

    The other thing to remember is that there is a strict hierarchy amongst wolves. Being top dog in a wolf pack is nice, but being at the bottom rung is not so nice. A weak wolf joining a pack with a strong alpha would not necessarily to a better life, unless one enjoys a life long tour of subservience…

  31. raventhorn2000
    July 10th, 2011 at 15:08 | #32

    Vietnam finally wised up and started to crack down on their own protesters. (the 100 or so that shows up at the Chinese Embassy).

    Vietnamese government knows well enough that they are very dependent upon China for survival.

    If China shuts down trade with Vietnam, that’s a wink-wink to US to go ahead with Vietnam War II and regime change.

    And this isn’t 1970’s, No USSR to help Vietnam, and now US has smart bombs and drones. Vietnamese jungle won’t be much of a problem for US military any more.

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