Hands Off the Philippines:
Protest Rallies at the Chinese Consulate and US Embassy
June 12, 2015
STATEMENT ON THE MARITIME DISPUTE
In viewing the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) takes a position in the light of and within the framework of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is expected to make a decision concerning the rights of the Philippines under the UNCLOS.
The Philippines is entitled to the interconnectivity of its islands, the territorial sea of 12 nautical miles from its eastern, northern, western and southern shorelines, the further 200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the still further 150 nautical miles of extended continental shelf (ECS) from the outer limits of the EEZ.
China has its own territorial sea, EEZ and ECS and these are hundreds of miles away from what lawfully belongs to the Philippines. The invention of such a name as “South China Sea” by Western cartographers and mariners cannot be the lawful basis of China’s drawing its nine-dash line and claiming “indisputable sovereignty” over 90 per cent of the said sea as much as India cannot claim ownership over the Indian Ocean.
It is an act of piracy and aggression for China to rob the Philippines of 100 per cent of its extended continental shelf and 80 per cent of its exclusive economic zone. It has in fact enforced control over Bajo de Masinloc (or Panatag Shoal) and made reclamations on seven reefs in the Kalayaan group of islands (Spratlys) in what is precisely the West Philippine Sea. It has forcibly acted against Filipino fishermen, damaged the marine environment, grabbed the marine and other resources and installed military facilities in the area.
China has become a full-fledged imperialist power by its acts of aggression on the basis of its monopoly capitalist character that resulted from the Dengist anti-socialist counterrevolution soon after the death of Mao. It is foolish for anyone to misrepresent such aggressive acts as lawful acts to assert the “indisputable sovereignty” of China or even as political counters to US efforts to continue and aggravate US imperialist hegemony over the Asia-Pacific region through its so-called pivot to East Asia.
The imperialist policies of both the US and China are hostile and inimical to Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity. There are indeed inter-imperialist contradictions between the US and China. But they also cooperate in order to maintain amicable relations at the expense of the Philippines and the Filipino people.
In connection with the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines, the US has expressed neutrality and interest only in its freedom of navigation. It has overlooked China’s violations of the UNCLOS and has in fact shown partiality to its larger interests in relations with China than in those with the Philippines. The US pivot to East Asia is mainly intended to aggrandize US interests and to favor the pro-US big bourgeoisie in China.
The US has taken advantage of the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China and has further entrenched itself in the Philippines in many ways, especially militarily by reestablishing military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and selling military junk to the Philippines directly or through Japan and Israel. It is clear that the US and China are conniving by a significant measure to dominate and divide the Philippines, very much like the time when China was divided into spheres of influence and Anglo-American and Japanese imperialists at certain times competed and collaborated in dividing and dominating China.
In the Philippines, regimes subservient to the US and other imperialist powers have pretended to stand for Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity against China. But they have in fact allowed the Chinese state and private enterprises to plunder the natural and human resources and to exploit a wide range of business opportunities at the expense of the Filipino people and Filipino entrepreneurs who uphold political and economic sovereignty and desire national industrialization.
On a global scale, the ILPS has been observant of the growing contradictions between the US-NATO combine and the Russia-China tandem. These contradictions have an inter-imperialist character. At certain times, we like to see the Russia-China tandem opposing the US-NATO combine because the latter is more covetous and more aggressive, besides having a longer history of modern imperialist hegemony and aggressions. But we cannot allow China to do its own aggression against the Philippines and the Filipino people just as we cannot allow the perpetuated aggression of the US against them.
The people and their revolutionary forces must rise up against the imperialist powers and their local reactionary agents. They must advance in their struggle for national liberation, democracy and socialism. They must end their intolerable suffering of the escalating oppression and exploitation, the ever worsening crisis, depression and wars.
They must take advantage of the opportunities generated by inter-imperialist contradictions. The oppressed and exploited peoples can achieve national and social liberation by relying on their own strength and capabilities and by fighting against any imperialist power and local reactionary force that oppress and exploit them.
Liberation cannot be achieved by being subservient to one or another imperialist power. The broad masses of the Filipino people, including the revolutionary party of the proletariat and people’s army, can demand the nationalization of the enterprises of any imperialist power hostile to the Filipino people. They can also immediately strive to disable and dismantle the enterprises of any hostile imperialist power even if they cannot as yet wage naval, air and missile warfare.
The anti-imperialist and democratic forces in the Philippines should unite to build national strength and develop relations with friendly countries that are truly helpful and are not hostile to the Filipino people’s aspirations for full national sovereignty, people’s democracy, industrial development, social justice, scientific and cultural progress and peace.###
|AT THE CHINESE CONSULATE ▼|
BAYAN Press Statement
On the occasion of June 12, Bayan calls on the Filipino people to stand in defense of national sovereignty and territorial integrity against the foreign powers that seek to tear the Philippines apart. Today we are reminded that the Philippines is not truly free.
We denounce in the strongest terms the aggressive actions and incursions of China in the West Philippine Sea, in blatant violation of the UNCLOS. China’s imperialist agenda is behind the grabbing of our seas and islands. We vow to resist such actions and call on the people to fight back through the various political and diplomatic means available to us.
We likewise reject the increasing US intervention in the maritime dispute with China. The US cares not for Philippine sovereignty and territorial claims and is merely concerned with freedom of navigation in international waters. The US is more interested in reestablishing is bases and increasing its troop presence in the Philippines as part of its pivot to Asia. Decades of US military presence in our country has brought us never-ending woes and has severely and shamefully undermined our sovereignty.
Both the US and China connive to exploit the Philippine economy, including our workforce and our natural resources. Both have economic interests in the Philippines. Both stand to gain from the ongoing efforts to change the economic provisions of the PH Constitution.
We will not be caught in the claws of the Dragon nor the Eagle. We stand for a truly free, independent and self-reliant Philippines. We stand for an independent foreign policy based on our national interest and respect for our sovereignty.
We assail the puppetry of the Aquino regime who up to now has no strategic plan for developing the domestic economy and our capacity for external defense. As with the economy and everything else, Aquino relies on foreign interests to boost our external defense vs China. This is precisely what keeps us weak. Aquino has failed to lay the foundation for an effective external defense not reliant and dictated on by the US.
We are not helpless in
the face of the big powers. Our people are our greatest strength. A
patriotic movement is now developing to counter China’s incursions and US
We reiterate our solidarity with the working people of China and the US, that they too oppose the imperialist agenda of their governments and promote peace instead of imperialist aggression.
To Filipino people, it is time to rise up. Tindig, Pinas! Tindig Pilipino! Ipagtanggol ang soberanya at integridad sa teritoryo ng ating Inang Bayan! ###
MUST UNITE vs IMPERIALIST POWERS’
In the face of rising tension in the West Philippine Sea, Jose Maria Sison, the chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), called on the Filipino people to “unite to build national strength” to counter aggression by the two “imperialist powers,” China and the United States.
“The people and their revolutionary forces must rise up against the imperialist powers and their local reactionary agents,” Sison said, in a statement as head of the ILPS, a global body with 350 anti-imperialist member-organizations in 40 countries.
Calling China “a full-fledged imperialist power,” Sison said its reclamation of reefs and shoals in the West Philippine Sea within Philippine territory is “an act of piracy and aggression.”
At least seven reefs in the Kalayaan (Spratlys) group of islands, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) had undergone reclamation by China: the Panganiban (Mischief), Mabini (Johnson South), Gavin (Gaven), Calderon (Cuarteron), Hughes (Kennan), Malvar (Eldad) and Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reefs.
The maritime dispute should be resolved within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Sison said.
The US and the Aquino administration had engaged China in a verbal tussle, with US President Barack Obama expressing “concern” over the issue. The US Navy had also been patrolling the international waters in the West Philippine Sea.
Sison, however, said the US only watches over its own “interests,” mostly in China.
“The US has expressed neutrality and interest, only in its freedom of navigation. It has overlooked China’s violations of the UNCLOS and has, in fact, shown partiality to its larger interests in relations with China than in those with the Philippines,” he said.
Sison added that the US pivot to Asia mainly favors “the pro-US big bourgeoisie in China.”
Sison said the US has taken advantage of the issue and has entrenched itself militarily in the country, as it is set to re-establish its military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
“It is clear that the US and China are conniving by a significant measure to dominate and divide the Philippines, very much like the time when China was divided into spheres of influence and Anglo-American and Japanese imperialists at certain times competed and collaborated in dividing and dominating China,” Sison said.
Sison also criticized the Philippine leadership, past and present, which had “pretended” to oppose China and defend Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“But they have in fact allowed the Chinese state and private enterprises to plunder the natural and human resources and to exploit a wide range of business opportunities at the expense of the Filipino people and Filipino entrepreneurs who uphold political and economic sovereignty and desire national industrialization,” Sison said.
“We cannot allow China to do its own aggression against the Philippines and the Filipino people, just as we cannot allow the perpetuated aggression of the US against them”.
Sison, who lives in exile in The Netherlands, is also political consultant to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and founding chairperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“The anti-imperialist and
democratic forces in the Philippines should unite to build national
strength and develop relations with friendly countries that are truly
helpful and are not hostile to the Filipino people’s aspirations for full
national sovereignty, people’s democracy, industrial development, social
justice, scientific and cultural progress and peace,” he said.
June 12 back to back rallies at China, US embassies
FILIPINOS URGED TO ACT VS. CHINESE INTRUSIONS, US INTERVENTION
A new coalition that includes former senators, cause-oriented groups and celebrities is urging ordinary citizens to take up the cudgels versus Chinese intrusions in the West Philippine Sea as well as increased US military intervention in the country, calling the actions by both superpowers "serious violations of Philippine sovereignty."
In a meeting at the National Press Club this morning, the Pilipinong Nagkakaisa para sa Soberanya (P1NAS) initiated by former Senator Rene Saguisag, party list representative Neri Colmenares and writer/actress Bibeth Orteza called on the public to join rallies in front of the Chinese embassy on June 12, Independence Day, "to show the Chinese government that we are united against their occupation and reclamation activities in Panatag Shoal and the Kalayaan Islands (Spratlys)."
The group likewise called on the public to rally at the US Embassy "to show our objection to US plans to use the Philippine-China dispute as a pretext to bring back their military bases and facilities in the country."
Present at the gathering were several former senators who voted to abrogate the RP-US Military Bases Agreement in 1991.
"Even as we vehemently oppose China's actions in the West Philippine Sea, we are wary that this will be used by the Americans to reverse the legacy and gains of the historic 1991 vote against the US bases. If we don't want Chinese bases in the Spratlys, we certainly don't want the return of US bases in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao," the group said.
They urged the Philippine government to adopt an independent foreign policy "that neither gives in to Chinese bullying nor bows to America's impositions at the expense of our sovereignty." The key to this, they said, is in "uniting our people in the vigorous defense of sovereignty.
"The two big powers should not underestimate the power of our people," they said.
Aside from street actions, P1NAS is contemplating campaigns targeting Chinese and American economic interests in the country as expressions of protest.
I have some complex questions on the issue of Chinese expansion and the US pivot to East Asia.
1. People are wondering about the stand of the mass movement and the revolutionary movement, as well, as yours on the issue of Chinese aggression in the Kalayaan group of islands and Bajo de Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea. Kindly state your personal analysis on this issue and your personal stand.
JMS: I resolutely and vigorously oppose the aggressive acts of China, especially the occupation of the Bajo de Masinloc and the ongoing reclamations being made in the Kalayaan group of islands. I have published my position in several articles and interviews.
I agree with the revolutionary underground forces and the open legal forces of the national democratic movement that have expressed their position against China’s acts of aggression which seek to grab 100 per cent of the ECS and 80 per cent of the EEZ of the Philippines.
There is a new broad alliance called PINAS which oppose the US and China for violating Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity. PINAS will be launched on June 8 and will spearhead the mass actions against the US and China for committing the such violations.
2. The Aquino regime and its military and political underlings have repeatedly begged for US military assistance in the Filipino nation’s territorial claims. Is it possible that US intervention would sustain this nation’s territorial claims?
JMS: The US has expressed a neutral position on the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China and speaks only for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. But it has expressed support for Japan’s invalid claim on Daoyu islands on the basis of previous imperialist aggressions of Japan.
It has its spy satellites always in operation. It has known about China’s reclamations in the West Philippine Sea since the beginning. But it has not made any timely opposition.
It is mainly and essentially interested in making its own violations of Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity in collaboration with its Filipino puppets. It allows China’s acts of aggression and yet cites them to further entrench itself in the Phlippines and reestablish US military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
3. China’s emerging economic power is the presumed target of the US “pivot” (another English word for rebalance) from the Middle East to East Asia. Kindly state your observations on the rebalance of American military forces on East Asia as a political scientist and an international situation observer
JMS: The US pivot to East Asia or rebalance towards deploying 60 per cent of its naval assets and 50 per cent of itsground and air assets is meant to influence China’s economic, social, political, military and cultural policies and affairs in the direction of favoring a pro-US big bourgeoisie within China and restraining the trend of Sino-Russian collaboration. At the same time,the US is unwittingly pushing China to strengthen its relations with Russia. US is using Japan as a pawn to pressure China.
4.What can the Filipino people do inspite of the Filipino nation’s economic undevelopment/maldevelopment, absence of military modernization for the defense of Philippine waters (lack of planes, ships and missiles), the shameless treason of the Philippine government’s highest officials, and the Chinese expansion, the US pivot to East Asia, and current international events?
JMS: The Filipino
people can become more resolute and militant in carrying out the people’s
revolution and realize full national sovereignty, the nationalization of
the economy, the development of the economy through national
industrialization and land reform, boycott against the hostile powers and
disable or dismantle their enterprises on Philippine territory.
|▲MAE PANER'S RPS 57 ▼|
|AT THE US EMBASSY ▼|
China’s 9-dash line claim of indisputable sovereignty over 90% of the South China Sea violates the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and robs the Philippines of 80% of its Exclusive Economic Zone and 100% of its Extended Continental Shelf.
Interview with Prof.
JOSE MARIA SISON
By ROSELLE VALERIO Liberation International, April 23, 2014
1. Why do you support the Philippine reactionary state in invoking the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and pursuing an arbitration case against China before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), particularly in the Arbitral Tribunal based in The Hague?
JMS: What I support is not so much the Philippine reactionary state as the invocation of the UNCLOS and upholding the sovereign rights of the Philippines and the Filipino people over the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as well as the extended continental shelf (ECS) in another 150 nautical miles from the outer limits of the EEZ. Thus, I have urged the Philippine government to act promptly on the matter.
It so happens that the Philippine state has the legal personality to pursue the case before the ITLOS. It is fine that it has filed a case against China under UNCLOS in January 2013 and the ITLOS has referred the case for hearing by one of its four mechanisms, the Arbitral Tribunal based in The Hague. On March 30, 2014 the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs submitted its Memorial to the Arbitral Tribunal that is hearing the case.
China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over 90 per cent of the South China under the so-called 9-dash line map in violation of the UNCLOS. It has hypocritically called for peaceful negotiations and consultations over what it asserts as non-negotiable issue and has also called for shelving disputes and going into joint development projects in the EEZ and ECS of the Philippines. For quite sometime, the consistent point of China has been to maneuver and paralyze the Philippines into a position of acquiescence to the false claim of China and prevent a legal case from being brought before the ITLOS under the UNCLOS.
If China is allowed to violate the UNCLOS and claim 90 percent of the South China Sea under the so-called 9-dash line map, the Philippines would suffer the loss of 80 per cent of its EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, including the Reed Bank and even Malampaya. It would also lose all its ECS. We have practically lost Mischief Reef and the Scarborough Shoal to what is veritably Chinese aggression.
Irrespective of the political and social character of the present government occupying the seat of the Philippines in the community of states, the Filipino people and all patriotic and progressive forces must uphold the national sovereignty and safeguard the territorial integrity of the Philippines, including sovereignty over the territorial sea and the internal waters and sovereign rights over the EEZ and ECS. These are fundamental points of principle in the Program of the People’s Democratic Revolution.
2. The arbitration case is supposed to involve a maritime dispute rather than a territorial dispute. Why a maritime dispute? What are the implications and consequences?
JMS: It is a given fact that the Philippines and China have their sovereign rights over their respective EEZs under the UNCLOS beyond their respective 12-mile territorial seas from their respective baselines. The EEZs, including the ECSs, of both countries do not overrlap and are far apart from each other by hundreds of nautical miles. And the UNCLOS has extinguished the so-called historical rights of China over the islets, reefs and shoals outside of its EEZ and ECS. Moreover, these so-called historical rights beyond Hainan island are false and baseless even in the time before the UNCLOS.
The Philippine case brought before the ITLOS involves a maritime dispute. It is not about a territorial dispute or a case of maritime delineation, which is not governed by the UNCLOS and is not within the jurisdiction of the ITLOS. What the Philippines is simply after in the legal case is a court ruling that there are no overlapping EECs and ECSs between the Philippines and China and that China has no reason whatsoever to prevent or interfere with the Philippines enjoying its sovereign exclusive rights over its own EEZ and ECS.
There is no territorial
dispute whatsoever between the Philippines and China, involving issues of
sovereignty or ownership over land territory, such as islands or other
elevations above water at high tide. Rocks or reefs that are below water
at high tide cannot be considered land that is subject to territorial
dispute. They are properly subject to maritime dispute that is governed by
According to the Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio who has done scholarly legal work on the matter, the arbitration case of the Philippines against China is solely a maritime dispute. It does not involve any territorial dispute. The Philippines asks the tribunal whether China’s 9-dash lines can negate the EEZ that is guaranteed to the Philippines under UNCLOS. The aggrieved state also asks the tribunal whether rocks above water at high tide, like Scarborough Shoal, generate a 200-nautical mile EEZ or only a 12-nautical mile territorial sea. The Philippines further asks the tribunal whether China can appropriate low-tide elevations (LTEs), like Mischief Reef and Subi Reef, within the Philippines’ EEZ.
3. The whole world knows how China arrogantly claims almost the entire South China Sea as being under its “indisputable sovereignty”, how in this regard it has expressed contempt towards any judicial process and how it has engaged in bullying and in aggressive occupation of islets and rocks within the EEZ of the Philippines. But in legal terms, how does China react to the arbitration case filed by the Philippines? And how does the Philippines answer?
JMS: China is determined to avoid participation in the proceedings of the Arbitral Tribunal. It argues that the Arbitral Tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case submitted by the Philippines, supposedly for two reasons: first, China can opt out of compulsory arbitration because the dispute involves maritime boundary delimitation arising from overlapping EEZs of the Philippines and China, requiring the consent of both to litigate; and second, China’s 9-dash line claim is a historical right that predates UNCLOS and cannot be invalidated by UNCLOS.
The answer of the Philippines is that the waters within China’s 9-dash lines do not constitute an EEZ because said lines are not drawn from baselines along the coast of China or any of its islands. China’s 9-dash lines do not comply with the UNCLOS for drawing EEZs. There is in fact no EEZ of China that overlaps with the Philippines’ EEZ. Relative to the Scarborough area, China’s baselines are either along the coast of Hainan Island, which is 580 NM from Luzon, or along the coast of mainland China, which is 485 NM miles from the Zambales coastline in Luzon facing Scarborough Shoal. Even the Chinese-held Paracels are 480 miles from Luzon.
Low-tide elevations (LTEs) in the Spratlys within the 200-nautical mile EEZ of the Philippines, like Mischief Reef and Subi Reef, are subject to the sovereign rights of the Philippines. Under the UNCLOS, only the Philippines can construct structures here. China has no right whatsoever to occupy and construct structures on any of the LTEs in the EEZ of the Philippines.
4. How does the Philippine debunk China’s invocation of historical rights to claim almost the entirety of the China Sea and even certain habitable islands (as in the Paracels) previously conceded to Vietnam at the 1951 San Francisco Peace Conference and nonhabitable islets, shoals and reefs that are within the EEZ of the Philippines and other countries?
The prevalent view, if not almost unanimous, among non-Chinese scholars on the law of the sea is that China’s “historical right” to the waters within the 9-dash lines in the South China Sea is completely without basis under international law. First of all, the UNCLOS extinguished all historical rights of other states within the EEZ of a coastal state. Thus, the term “exclusive” is used to denote the sovereign rights of a coastal state over its exclusive economic zone. Fishing rights that people from Hainan, Taiwan and Japan previously enjoyed in what would become the Philippine EEZ were automatically terminated upon the effectivity of UNCLOS. The UNCLOS does not allow any state to invoke historical rights in order to claim the EEZs or ECSs of other coastal states.
The historical records show that never did any state claim, beyond the 12-nautical mile territorial sea, that the South China Sea is its internal waters or territorial sea, until 1947 when China domestically released its 9-dash line map and 2009 when China officially notified the world of its 9-dash line claim and submitted the 9-dash line map to the United Nations Secretary General. No country other than China recognizes the validity and effectivity of China’s 9-dash line claim. China has never effectively enforced its claim between 1947 and 1994 when UNCLOS took effect, and even thereafter. Outside of the valid territorial sea of China, ships have freely crossed the South China Sea and planes have flown over it, without having to get permission from China.
The waters enclosed within China’s 9-dash lines cannot form part of China’s EEZ or ECS because they are beyond the limits of China’s EEZ and ECS as drawn from China’s baselines in accordance with UNCLOS. Such waters do not fall under any of the maritime zones – internal waters, territorial sea, EEZ and ECS – which are recognized by international law or UNCLOS. So far, China has not explained to the world what kind of maritime regime the 9-dash line waters fall under. It simply keeps on harping ad nauseam that it has “indisputable sovereignty” over such waters by “historical right.”
5. You have made fun of China’s “historical right” to having “indisputable sovereignty” over the entire South China Sea by comparing it with the irridentist ambitions of Mussolini to reclaim the territories that previously belonged to the ancient Roman empire. Don’t you think that it is useful to examine and test the factual basis of the “historical right” invoked and asserted by China in order to debunk its arrogant claim to “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea.
JMS: Indeed, it is useful to examine and test the factual basis of China’s claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea as a matter of “historical right”. And in the process, you can have a few laughs. For instance, China claims that Scarborough Shoal, or Huangyan Island to the Chinese, is the Nanhai island that the 13th century Chinese astronomer-engineer-mathematician Guo Shoujing allegedly visited in 1279, upon the order of Kublai Khan, the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, to conduct a survey of the Four Seas to update the Sung Dynasty calendar system.
But in the document entitled “China’s Sovereignty Over Xisha and Zhongsa Islands Is Indisputable” dated January 30, 1980, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially declared that the Nanhai island that Guo Shoujing visited in 1279 was in Xisha or what is internationally called the Paracels, a group of islands more than 380 nautical miles from Scarborough Shoal. China has thus debunked itself and is estopped from claiming the shoal. The Chinese claim to the shoal becomes hilarious when the purported historical account depicts Guo Shoujing going ashore on the small rock and building on it a massive observatory with a height of 12.6 meters.
The Murillo map is the oldest map in the world showing Scarborough Shoal as part of the Philippine archipelago. It was first issued in 1734 during the Spanish colonial period. It is entitled Mapa de las Islas Filipinas. It was drawn up by the Spanish priest Fr. Pedro Murillo. It clearly shows Scarborough Shoal, then called Panacot, in the vicinity of Zambales. Filipino fishermen called the shoal Panacot and often went to it for fishing.
One more absurd and funny claim of China is that the southernmost territory in the South China Sea is James Shoal, 50 nautical miles from the coast of Bintulu, Sarawak, East Malaysia. This shoal is a fully submerged reef, 22 meters under water. It is entirely within Malaysia’s EEZ and is more than 950 nautical miles from China. It is obvious that Chinese leaders and cartographers claimed James Shoal as China’s southernmost territory without anyone of them seeing it. But once more the Chinese narrative goes hilarious as it speaks of Chinese going ashore to “visit” James Shoal. James Shoal is unique for being the only national border in the world that is fully under the sea and too far beyond the territorial sea of the claimant state.
Many errors crept into the map of South China Sea made by the “Inspection Committee for Land and Water Maps” created by the Republic of China in 1933. The committee merely copied the existing British maps and changed the names of the islands by either translating them or transliterating them to make them sound Chinese. For example, Antelope Reef was translated as Lingyang and Spratly Island was transliterated as Sipulateli. The Chinese map even copied 20 errors in the British map (which misrepresented non-islands as islands) which the British map makers would later correct.
All Chinese official maps during the Yuan, Ming and Ching Dynasties acknowledged Hainan island as the southernmost border of China. These Chinese dynasty maps never mentioned the Paracels, the Spratlys, Scarborough Shoal, the 9-dash lines or the U-shaped lines. The Chinese Government officially declared to the world in 1932 that the “southernmost part of Chinese territory” or border was Hainan Island. In the 1951 San Francisco Peace Conference, the Soviet Union demanded on behalf of China that the Paracels and Spratlys be turned over to China but the demand was rejected by a vote of 48 states to 3 states.
The Chinese should not mislead themselves into thinking that they own the entire South China Sea just because the European mariners and cartographers gave it such name. The Chinese do not own it as much as the Indians do not own the entire Indian Ocean. Long before the Chinese imperial admiral Zeng He undertook his famous sea voyages from 1405 to 1433 A.D., the prehistoric inhabitants of the Philippines had fished in the waters, now within the Philippine EEZ, and the Filipino traders had become masters of the South China Sea in the course of trading with China, Indochina and their brother Malays in what are now Indonesia, Kalimantan and Malaysia.
6. A Chinese professor from the University of Beijing wrote recently that China has the right to own islands, islets, reefs and shoals even within the EEZ of the Philippines, as in the case of British isles being dependencies of Britain even as they are geographically far closer to France?
JMS: Such scholars conveniently do not mention the fact that the British isles referred to have long been inhabited by the British and have been recognized as British dependencies by nearby states and to my knowledge all other countries. They might as well mention the colonial possessions of Britain in far flung areas in the history of British colonialism and imperialism. In an effort to hold on to the Malvinas or what they they call the Falklands, the British have combined the aggressive use of imperialist force and the deployment of British settlers.
7. Is it possible and mutually beneficial for the Philippines and China to engage in joint development projects within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines? What are now the obstacles? Why is it that China has manifested aggressive behavior?
JMS: It is possible and
mutually beneficial if first of all both China and the Philippines
simultaneously recognize their sovereign rights over their respective
EEZs and ECSs and then immediately agree on joint development projects.
It is preposterous if such joint development is subject to the
precondition of recognizing China’s “indisputable sovereignty” under its
9-dash line claim over almost the entire South China Sea.
The Philippines and the Filipino people cannot take lightly or ignore the aggressive actions already taken by China in connection with its greedy claim of owning almost the entire South China Sea. Through aggressive actions, China has grabbed the Mischief Reef in 1995 and Scarborouigh Shoal in 2012. Earlier it grabbed from Vietnam the Paracels in 1974 and Fiery Reef Cross in 1988. By all indications, China is poised to force out the handful of Philippine marines aboard the shipwrecked Philippine navy boat on Ayungin Reef, a low tide elevation in the EEZ of the Philippines in the Spratlys. Armed aggression violates the UN Charter.
The Filipino people should understand that China since the death of Mao has become a capitalist country. As the neoliberal partner of US imperialism, it has prominently promoted big comprador operations such as the proliferation of export-oriented sweatshops, privatization of the rural industries built under Mao and the wanton use of finance capital to generate a private construction boom and consumerism among less than 10 per cent of the population.
It converted proletarian state power into a bourgeois nationalist power and indeed developed further its industrial base, including its production of advanced weapons. Although it still has a relatively low per capita GDP, China is already a big capitalist power with the economic features of a modern imperialist power and is on the verge of a definitive kind of military aggression.
8. In legal terms, what are the prospects of the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China? What are the prospects in political and economic terms? How do you take into account the further entrenchment of US imperialism in the Philippines and the collusion and contention between the US and China?
JMS: The Philippines has a good chance of winning the case. The approach in the case is excellent. It is a maritime dispute and not a territorial dispute. It attacks the outrageous claim of “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea. To be benefited is not only the Philippines but also the other state claimants to EEZs and ECSs under the UNCLOS and all the people of the world who are interested in free and safe navigation over the South China Sea by ship and by airplane.
I estimate that the judges will make a ruling that yields the benefits that I have just mentioned and that keeps the South China Sea from becoming a hotbed of aggression based on the overreaching claims of China or the US. China insists that it can defy compulsory arbitration by arguing out of court that the case filed by the Philippines with the ITLOS is not a maritime dispute but territorial dispute or dispute over maritime delineation which are not governed by the UNCLOS and are outside the jurisdiction of the UNCLOS.
It cannot escape from compulsory arbitration because the tribunal can consider and rule on the pleading of the Philippines and weigh the arguments given by China for not participating in the process. If the ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal is not favorable to it, China will probably behave better in the face of the international community or will proceed on a path of imperialist aggression.
A decision favorable to the Philippines can be a good basis for pro-actively offering cooperation to China and for telling the US to stop pretending as the protector of the Philippines against China and to cease its unbridled plundering and further military entrenchment in the Philippines. Unlike the US, China is a country that has never carried out a fullscale aggression to conquer the Philippines. It has the capacity and probable willingness to help the Philippines achieve national industrialization through equitable and friendly economic and trade relations.
However, the Philippines and the Filipino people must be always vigilant to the relationship of collusion and contention between the US and China in a world still suffering from imperialism, neocolonialism and the revisionist betrayal of socialism and the revolutionary forces of the people are just beginning to reinvigorate themselves and resurge.
9. What ought to be the long term view of the Filipino people and the patriotic and progressive forces in upholding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and sovereign rights over the exclusive economic zone and the extended continental shelf?
JMS: The Philippines should be independent of the US, China and other capitalist powers. To have their own strength and gain the respect, solidarity and cooperation of other peoples, the Filipino people should win the new democratic revolution and proceed to the socialist revolution. They must attain national sovereignty and democracy for the toiling masses of workers and peasants, realize social justice, carry out land reform and national industrialization, promote a patriotic and progressive culture and develop cooperative relations with all countries for the sake of peace and development.
10. What would you suggest as study material for understanding the dispute of the Philippines and China in connection with the latter’s claim of indisputable sovereignty over the entire South China Sea and even the West Philippine Sea, where the Philippines has its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS)?
JMS: The most studious should read and study the 4000-page memorial of the Philippines in its arbitration case against China, submitted to
between two greedy giants
By John Toledo
1. Historically, who are the original claimants of the West Philippine Sea? Where did this dispute come from? Who are the claimants today?
Prof. Jose Maria Sison (JMS): Let us first put into context what you refer to as the West Philippine Sea. The Spratlys are a group of 250 islets plus the shoals and reefs spread over 265,542 square kilometers. They are claimed entirely by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and in part by Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. The part of the Spratlys claimed by the Phiippines is what it calls the Kalayaan group of islets located in the West Philippine Sea.
China, Taiwan and Vietnam claim ownership of all the Spratlys supposedly since ancient times on the basis of historical references, seasonal visits by their fishermen and assertions of claims against colonizers as well as yielding of the Spratlys by the Japanese to the French and thus to Vietnam in the San Francisco peace treaty after World War II. Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines claim parts of the Spratlys that are geographically closest to them and within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone under the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) plus prehistorical and historical claims that the islets concerned have long been the fishing grounds of their respective fishermen.
2. Why is the West Philippine Sea being claimed by China and Philippines? Is it economically and politically useful? Why or why not?
China arrogantly claims not only the entire Spratlys but also the entire sea south and east of China as its property and by making military shows of strength to assert its claims. But the Kalayaan group of islets, the Recto (Reed ) and Panatag Shoal (Scarborough) are all within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines under the UNCLOS. It is wrong for China to claim these.
In economic terms, the contested islets and shoals and the waters around them are at least rich fishing grounds and sources of corals but they also have a high potential as sources of gas and oil. The Recto Bank is well known for having rich gas and oil deposits as a result of explorations. In political and military terms, the contested islets and shoals can serve as outposts for military vessels and for controlling navigation and commerce or evoking power and influence.
3. Why is US joining in the conflict? Why is it strategic for US to support the Philippines with many armed forces and materials?
The US is fishing in troubled waters. As a matter of fact, it is responsible for stirring up trouble in the first place. It has undertaken controlled trouble-making just to make the Philippine reactionary puppet government run to it for support, to have the reason for entrenching US military forces in the Philippines and to have the Philippines as a base for influencing policies and development within China. The US has strategic objectives in using the Philippines as a strategic base in the US encirclement of China.
4. Is it logically possible that China will wage war on the Philippines because of this West Philippine Sea dispute? Or is it just a ploy for US to wage war with China? Why or why not?
China will not wage war on the Philippines but it will continue to take calculated actions, including shows of force, to discourage and prevent Philippine attempts to control and occupy the contested islets and develop the gas and oil resources there. Neither will the US wage war with China to support the Philippines in the territorial dispute. It has far more economic and political interests in good relations with China than in those with the Philippines.
The US has repeatedly proclaimed that it is neutral in the territorial dispute between China and Philippines. The most it can say is that it is militarily entrenching itself in the Philippines in order to discourage China from attacking the Philippines. However, it will not act militarily against the calculated military moves of China to prevent Philippine attempts to explore and develop the gas and oil resources in the contested islets and shoals.
But China and the US might even make a deal to exploit the gas and oil resources for the benefit of US and Chinese corporations and some big comprador Filipino-Chinese firms or the Indonesian-Chinese firm (Salim group) being managed by Manuel V. Pangilinan. The whole world knows that the mineral ores of the Philippines are being wantonly excavated by US, Japanese, Canadian, Australian, Swiss, Chinese and other foreign firms, together with their big comprador allies. And China has been a major destination of the mineral ores.
In an attempt to look nationalist, the US-Aquino regime is obviously play-acting against China over the well-hyped territorial disputes. It is well within the bounds of the collaboration between the US and China. The US is steering the Philippine government towards the attainment of the narrow self-interest and strategic objectives of the US.
One more reason why the US is entrenching itself militarily in the Philippines and using this as part of the US encirclement of China is not to wage war soon but to influence policies and developments in China. The US is trying to realize the complete privatization of the most strategic state-owned enterprises in China and to promote the liberalization of Chinese politics to the point of doing away with the authoritarian rule and causing the weakening or even disintegration of the bureaucrat monopoly capitalism.
5. What are the implications of the Sino-Philippine territorial dispute in relation to the sovereignty of the Philippines?
What is tragic about the Philippine ruling system of big compradors and landlords is that it is weak and servile to imperialist powers and that both the US and China take advantage of the Philippines. The US pretends to protect the Philippines but it is a bantay salakay. Having long become a capitalist country, China cannot be expected to be a gentle and generous giant.
The Filipino people can
best assert their national sovereignty and defend their territorial
integrity by overthrowing the ruling system and establishing a people´s
democratic state that is truly independent and democratic, determined to
carry out land reform and industrialization, realizes social justice and
aims for socialism. Such a state is capable of using effective diplomacy
and defending its territory against intruders. ###
ON PHILIPPINE SOVEREIGNTY, US & CHINA
Reply to Questions from Renato Reyes, BAYAN Secretary General
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Renato Reyes (RR): I hope that you can answer briefly the following questions re China, Philippines and the assertion of national sovereignty. We have an all-leaders meeting this Saturday and we are trying to get views on how to deal with the issue of China’s incursions on Philippine territory, the Aquino regime’s response and US intervention.
Jose Maria Sison (JMS): First of all, as a matter of principle, the Filipino people must assert their national sovereignty and Philippine territorial integrity over the issue of Spratlys (Kalayaan) and other islands, reefs and shoals which are well within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). According to the Philippine reactionary government, it submitted on time to the UN the necessary scientific and technical grounds to define the Philippine 200-mile EEZ under UNCLOS.
The UNCLOS is the strongest legal basis for the definition of the territorial sea and EEZ of the Philippine archipelago.. Also, archaeological evidence shows that the islands, reefs and shoals at issue have been used by inhabitants of what is now the Philippines since prehistoric times. But the Philippine reactionary government muddles the issue and undermines its own position by making historical claims that date back only to a few decades ago when pseudo-admiral Cloma made formal claims to the Kalayaan group of islands.
Chinese historical claims since ancient times amount to an absurdity as this would be like Italy claiming as its sovereign possession all areas previously occupied by the Roman empire. The name China Sea was invented by European cartographers and should not lead anyone to think that the entire sea belongs to China. In the same vein, neither does the entire Indian Ocean belong to India.
RR 1: How do we view the incursions and aggressive behavior of China in territories claimed by the Philippines? Is this aggressiveness proof that China has imperialist ambitions and should be criticized as an imperialist power? What is the relationship between China’s revisionist regime and its apparent desire to flex its muscles in the region?
JMS: The Filipino people and progressive forces must oppose what may be deemed as incursions and what may appear as aggressive behavior of China with regard to the territories belonging to the Philippines. But so far China’s actions and actuations manifest assertiveness rather than outright military aggression. The Philippine reactionary government should desist from self-fulfilling its claim of China’s aggression by engaging in an anti-China scare campaign.
The Filipino people and progressive forces must consciously differentiate their position from that of the Aquino regime, its military subalterns and its Akbayan special agents who pretend to be super patriots against China but are in fact servile to the interests of US imperialism and are using the anti-China scare campaign to justify the escalation of US military intervention in the Philippines and US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.
At any rate, China must not violate Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea it agreed to with the ASEAN. The apparently aggressive or assertive acts and words of China are in consonance with its own premise of national sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as with the bourgeois character of the Chinese state that may indicate an imperialist tendency or ambitions.
The Chinese state is blatantly a capitalist state. Only occasionally does it claim to be socialist so as to cover up its capitalist character as the revisionists in power systematically did in the past. Whatever is its character, the Chinese state must not infringe or threaten to infringe Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity. When it does, it opens itself to criticism and opposition by political and diplomatic action.
RR 2: On the other hand, would criticism of China serve the US ploy of increasing its military presence in the region by supporting the claim that China is indeed a major threat to Philippine sovereignty? Would such criticism serve to support the claim that China is indeed a major threat while obfuscating the US continuous undermining and violation of Philippine sovereignty? How important is it that the Left join in the assertion of Philippine sovereignty against incursions by China?
JMS: Criticism and opposition to any actual incursion by China is consistent with
the assertion of national sovereignty and does not serve the US ploy so long as we expose at the same time why and how the Aquino regime’s posture against alleged incursions by China are meant to serve US goals in the region.
We must be alert to and oppose the malicious efforts of the US and the Aquino regime to hype China as an imperialist aggressor in order to allow the No. 1 imperialist power to further entrench itself militarily in the Philippines and realize its strategy of encircling China and enhancing its hegemony over East Asia and entire Asia-Pacific region. You should take critical notice of the fact that the agents of US imperialism like Aquino, his military sidekicks and his Akbayan hangers-on are presenting themselves as superpatriots against China while they allow the US to increase the presence of military forces and activities under the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Balikatan exercises and various other pretexts.
It is a matter of principle to invoke national sovereignty and territorial integrity against China’s claims on certain islands, reefs and shoals that belong to the Philippines. But we should expose and oppose the US and the Aquino regime for actively undertaking what are obviously anti-China provocations and propaganda aimed at justifying the escalation of US military intervention and further entrenchment of US forces in the Philippines, as part of the strategic scheme of the US to preserve and strengthen its hegemony over the Asia-Pacific region, particularly East Asia.
Further, the US imperialists are increasing their pressure on China to privatize its state-owned enterprises, to restrain its bourgeois nationalist impulses, to yield further to US economic and security dictates and to further promote the pro-US or pro-West bourgeois forces within China. In comparison to the Philippines, China is a far larger country for imperialist exploitation and oppression. Having more economic and political interests in China than in the Philippines, the US is using the Philippines as a staging base for actions aimed at pressuring and influencing China rather than protecting the Philippines from China.
The US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty does not contain an automatic retaliation provision. The US has used this treaty as the basis for the Visiting Forces Agreement and for the escalation of US military intervention in the Philippines. But in case of attack from any foreign power, the Philippines has no basis for expecting or demanding automatic retaliation from the US. The treaty allows the US to act strictly in its national interest and use its constitutional processes to bar the Philippines from demanding automatic retaliation against a third party that attacks the Philippines.
The US and China can always agree to cooperate in exploiting the Philippines. In fact, they have long been cooperating in exploiting the Philippines. The Chinese comprador big bourgeoisie in both the Philippines (Henry Sy, Lucio Tan and the like) and China (within the bureaucracy and outside) are trading and financial agents of the US and other imperialist powers.
RR 3: The Aquino government has availed of diplomatic venues to resolve the dispute. Meanwhile, the Chinese incursions continue. The Philippines is a weak country militarily and has no capability for securing its territory. What would be the requirements for the
Philippines to be able to effectively assert its sovereignty (not limited of course to questions of territory)? Briefly, how can the Philippines develop a credible external defense?
JMS: Rather than entertain hopes that the Aquino regime would defend Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Filipino people and progressive forces must resolutely and militantly expose and oppose the puppetry, shameless mendicancy and the hypocrisy of the regime in pretending to be for national sovereignty and territorial integrity against China while inviting and welcoming increased US military intervention in the Philippines and using the country as a base for strengthening US hegemony in the Asia Pacific region.
Only the Filipino people and revolutionary forces can gain the capability to secure, control and defend their territory by fighting for and achieving national and social liberation in the first place from US imperialist domination and from such reactionary regimes of the big compradors and landlords like the Aquino regime. Otherwise the US and their puppets will always be the bantay salakay at the expense of the people.
When the Filipino people and revolutionary forces come to power, they will certainly engage strongly among others in metal manufacturing, ship building and fishing in close connection with securing the Philippine territorial sea and exclusive economic zone.
They shall have internal political-military strength and socio-economic satisfaction. And they shall develop international solidarity and use diplomatic action against any foreign power that violates Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At the moment, the US and Aquino regime are engaged in a calibrated anti-China propaganda campaign in order to justify and allow the US to control the Philippines and East Asia militarily. We are being subjected to an anti-China scare aimed at further strengthening the dominance of US imperialism and the domestic rule of its reactionary puppets like Aquino. Right now, we must give the highest priority to fighting these monsters.
The Filipino people and the progressive forces must complain to the entire world against any incursive act of China and at the same time against the maneuvers of the US and its Filipino puppets to use the anti-China campaign to further oppress and exploit the Filipino nation and people. By the way, the Aquino regime blows hot and cold against China. In fact, it is vulnerable to China’s manipulation of Philippine exports to China like some semimanufactures and agricultural and mineral products.
When the Filipino people and revolutionary forces win, they shall be able to bring up through official representatives the issues concerning the UNCLOS to the UN General Assembly and the Hamburg-based International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. They can encourage the cooperation of certain countries like Russia and Norway to avoid unwelcome impositions from US, UK and Netherlands in the exploration and development of oil and gas in the areas of the Philippines.
Even at this time, approaches can be made to China to avoid confrontations and tensions over the territories that belong to the Philippines and to engage in all-round cooperation for mutual benefit, especially for the advance of national independence, the industrial development of the Philippines and the termination of the extremely oppressive and exploitative US hegemony over East Asia, which victimizes both the Philippines and China.
RR 4: What approaches would you like the Philippines to make towards China? Were such approaches taken into account in the 2011 NDFP proposal to the Aquino regime for an alliance and truce? In this regard, what can the Left do in view of the rabid servility of the Aquino regime to the US.
JMS: China has been known for its policy of dealing diplomatically solely with the state (rather than with the revolutionary forces) in any country and for its flexibility in considering the needs and demands of that state or country. It is not as imposing and as aggressive as the US in diplomatic and economic relations with other countries. It tries to comply with what it professes, such as the principles of independence, non-interference, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.
Thus, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines has proposed to the Aquino regime strategic alliance and truce in the context of peace negotiations. It has challenged the Aquino regime to make a general declaration of common intent with the NDFP to assert national independence and end unequal treaties and agreements; expand democracy through empowerment of the workers and peasants; carry out national industrialization and land reform; foster a patriotic, scientific and pro-people culture; and adopt an independent foreign policy for world peace and development.
A key part of the NDFP proposal is for the Philippines to approach China and other countries for cooperation in the establishment of key industrial projects for the national industrialization of the country. Certainly, it would be greatly beneficial for the Filipino people that the Philippines is industrialized and ceases to be merely an exporter of raw materials, semi-manufactures and migrant workers, mostly women.
But the US agents in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and in Akbayan and Aquino himself supplied information on the NDFP proposal to the US embassy and Washington. They proceeded to cook up the anti-China scare campaign in order to undercut the proposal and serve US imperialist interests. It would be absurd for BAYAN, Bayan Muna and MAKABAYAN to join the rabidly pro-Aquino Akbayan or even compete with it in the anti-China scare campaign that draws away attention from US imperialism as well as justifies US military intervention and aggression in the Philippines and the whole of East Asia and the Asia-Pacific.
The people should know that the agents of US imperialism in the Aquino regime have used various malicious and cruel tactics to block the road to a just peace. The tactics include the abduction, torture and extrajudicial killing of NDFP consultants in violation of JASIG and the continued imprisonment of hundreds of political prisoners in violation of CARHRIHL.
RR 5: How would you describe the contradictions between the US and China? On one hand, the US is wary of the rise of China as a military power and has sought to encircle China, yet on the other hand, the US economy is closely linked to China’s. and China is said to be the biggest creditor of the US.
JMS: There is unity and struggle between two capitalist powers in the relationship between the US and China. The US is not yet really worried about China having the military strength that can be projected outside its borders. It is more worried about China’s military strength being able to defend China, fend off US imperialist dictates and threats and combat separatist forces in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.
The US strategy of encirclement is calculated to keep China as a friendly partner in the exploitation of the Chinese and other peoples. The US and China have already more than three decades of being close partners in promoting and benefiting from the neoliberal policy of globalization. The super-exploitation of the Chinese working people, China’s trade surpluses and huge indebtedness of the US to China are matters well within the negotiable relations of two capitalist powers, which would rather go on taking advantage of the working people rather than go to war against each other.
efforts of China to find its own sources of energy and raw materials and
markets and fields of investment can be at times irritating or even
infuriating to the US (when the conflicts of interest occur as in Iran,
Sudan, Libya and Syria). But the capitalist powers can settle their
relations with each other at the expense of the working people and
underdeveloped countries, until the crisis of the world capitalist system
further worsens to the point that a number of capitalist powers accelerate
their aggressiveness and even become fascist in their home grounds. ###
|MAO'S CAP AND MAO'S MESSAGE ▼|
COMMENT ON THE PHILIPPINE CASE
BEFORE ITLOS AND ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
In a previous interview, I said that the strongest piece of international law in favor of the Philippines is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), particularly with regard to the 200 mile exclusive economic zone. I even challenged the Manila government to file a case in the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
By manifestations through writing and mass actions, the patriotic and progressive forces have stood for Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity over the islands or islets in question in the sea west of the Philippines on the basis of UNCLOS and other international instruments. This is not the first time that their position has concurred with that of the Philippine reactionary government on a territorial issue, as in the case of Sabah.
It is better than not for the Philippines to file the case before ITLOS and in particular the Arbitral Tribunal as the chosen mechanism for arbitration regarding the islands or islets west of the Philippines. When the revolutionary government gains the personality to make representations for the Philippines in the community of states,it will certainly take responsibility for asserting territorial integrity.
The Chinese government of today invokes the position of previous Chinese governments as far back as the feudal dynasties in the same manner as the irredentist Mussolini of Italy invoked the scope of the ancient Roman empire to claim territories. The Chinese government also argues that certain territories are owned by a country no matter how far those are and closer to other countries. But it should also mention that such territories are usually habitated by nationals of the owning country (e.g. British territories closer to Germany and France than to UK) or occupied through colonization (e.g. Malvinas island and all previous British colonies).
The Philippines cannot accept the view that China is ever willing to negotiate with the Philippines and yet it asserts from beginning to end that its claim of sovereignty over the islands in question is nonnegotiable. What China actually means is that it has the sovereignty and territorial integrity over the islands and the Philippines can only negotiate or beg for some accommodations like permission for Filipino fishermen to fish in the area, to have more time to tow away the stranded boat on Ayungin shoal or continue the joint oil exploration stupidly agreed to by the Arroyo regime.
I do not agree with the view that the Philippines should not have filed the case against China before ITLOS and the Arbitral Tribunal, supposedly because the Philippines should fear retaliation from China and/or because the Philippines stands to gain something from “negotiating” with China. Even after filing of the case, it is still possible to negotiate the issue out of court. After all, there are more matters than this issue that require both China and the Philippines to negotiate and transact business. In the first place, filing the case before ITLOS and the Arbitral Tribunal is not a violent act at all, no matter how China presents it as a hostile act. Had the Philippines desisted from filing the case, China would have certainly used the desistance as proof of a Philippine lack of conviction and interest in the case.
The national democratic movement must stand firm for national sovereignty and territorial integrity and should not give a chance to the Aquino regime, its military minions and propagandists to misrepresent it as pro-China on the issue at hand in order to favor their vicious use of the issue to justify their collaboration with the US in the violation of Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The US is a long-standing violator and a far bigger transgressor of Philippine territory than other foreign forces. It has arrogated unto itself the power and privilege of occupying the Philippines at will under the guise of protector and under other guises.
A former diplomatic official of the Philippine reactionary government has said that it is futile for the Philippines to file a case before ITLOS and the Arbitral Tribunal. He says that China can refuse to go before the international tribunal and that, as a matter of real politik, China can even defy a ruling favorable to the Philippines because the tribunal does not have any enforcement agency and China has veto power in the UN Security Council. Furthermore, the US will in fact remain neutral over the issue between China and Philippines or can even join China in the exploitation of oil and gas resources in the disputed area. But it is decisively necessary and better for the Philippines to make a well-grounded and sustained case before the international tribunal and before world public opinion, especially for long-term purposes, than do nothing at all.
The national democratic movement should assert that the islands in question belong to the Filipino people or the Philippines as a country in accordance with the UNCLOS and oppose the following:
1. The claim and related actions of China in contravention of the UNCLOS.
2. The US for taking advantage of the territorial dispute in order to entrench itself further in the Philippines and does worse than China in encroaching upon the entire Philippines and violating Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity.
3. The Philippine reactionary government for puppetry to the US, for believing that the US is its best protector against China and for belatedly making the case before ITLOS and the Arbitral Tribunal.
The national democratic movement should take a long term view. The future revolutionary government shall be in a fundamentally better position to assert national sovereignty and territorial integrity because it shall engage in national industrialization and become capable of producing the ships, planes and other instruments to defend the country and people. It shall be in a position to deal properly with the Chinese comprador big bourgeoisie now expĺoiting the Philippines and the Chinese mining operations now plundering the natural resources of the Philippines and all other forms of unwelcome Chinese intrusions.
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