The Chinese challenge


Shipping lanes


By Irineo B. R. Salazar

The Philippine situation already is about the island situation in the sea between Vietnam and the Philippines:. Vietnam and the Philippines are planning to cooperate in this area against China, which is taking one island after the other. But the situation is more complex, I shall explain why shortly.

What did others want before?

The Philippines became an object of international politics because of the sea routes that intersect in front of its shores: details this. Spain wanted the spice trade of the Portuguese and ended up with the galleon trade. The Iberians built up a global trading network.


To read the complete article, please link over to Irineo’s blog: “The Chinese challenge”


103 Responses to “The Chinese challenge”
  1. Many thanks Joe… may our alliance continue this was – we do not need any EBCA – Enhanced Blog Cooperation Agreement – to keep going on our common goals and common values while respecting each other’s personalities and principles that do differ at times…

    In 1898, the US and UK fleets drove the German fleet out of Manila Bay. The Reich was waiting like a vulture just in case the other eagle, the USA did not grab the opportunity. I guess today it is an American in the Philippines and a Filipino-German in Germany driving out the Chinese… 🙂

    • wangad says:

      i feel it is to the best national security interest of the united states and the philippines for them to develop pag-asa island (or one of the philippine island near it) as a joint base. Enhanced Philippine military presence with US support on this island is a must to prevent further bullying of china. The US will have an outpost in this area and the Philippines will have a bigger presence. I feel this will be good optics for US-Philippine mutual defense relation in strategic sense.

      • Thanks.. that sounds like a good idea… possibly the USA will consider this suggestion once EDCA passes… I think the USA is still a bit wary of the Philippines… sending them away without having a concept for self-defense and then asking them to come back.

        West Berlin (where my mother comes from) survived thanks to Allied troops that were committed to keeping West Berlin alive.. food was dropped from bombers when the Soviets blockaded it, Kennedy and Willy Brandt (a socialist) committed to it when the wall was built in 1961, Reagan (for all the weird stuff he also did) told Gorbachev to tear the wall down. The Spratleys remind me a bit of Berlin during Allied control, only more complex.

  2. Karl garcia says:

    my comment there wont publish.Thanks for the article and the mentioning of my dad.

    • It is already there, my blog is just a bit slower because I chose to use a “pirate station” and not WordPress or other big hosters, and I have answered your comment. Welcome Karl and thanks for the many infos and nudges – especially the radio interview of your father.

      Hope this article will raise awareness of the many dimensions of the topic: historical, geopolitical, regional, economic and military – in fact writing it was a major challenge in terms of critical thinking and setting aside the emotional aspect for me, really hard work.

    • Karl garcia says:

      my comment went in na.

      • Karl garcia says:

        oops sorry.commented right away

        • No problem Karl, my blog hoster is a bit buggy at times… just refresh or in the worst case leave the browser and try again… your comments are definitely there…

          The Millenium Falcon was also not always reliable.. but it served its purpose and helped the rebels when needed… this is the true meaning of flying my own flag like Del Pilar even while being allied… sometimes pintakasi is more effective… palaisipan lahat ito.

  3. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “Malaysian couple hangs to death for starving houseslave” – STRAIT TIMES


    The couple in Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan got away in flat-ironing their houseslave in the face after CHURCH SERVICE.

    Of course, Korina got away, too. It is like Watermelon against limonsito. David & Goliath (oh, by the way, science has proven that David did not kill Golyat). China against Philippines.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Housemaids can only think too much like Filipinos can only think too much.

      They are housemaids because they are uneducated, like, Filipinos can only be caregivers because that is the only trade they know.

      The highest attainable career of these children-of-farmers is housemaid, like, Filipinos in general the highest attainable career abroad is a nurse and they seem to be very contented and proud of being a nurse.

      So, be kind to your housemaids, they, too, are human not some animals. Fortunately, there is no God, tulog pa sa pansitan ang dios n’yo. If there was God and mete out immediate punishment I bet you christian roman catholic Filipinos you’d be kind to your housemaids.

      Forget Korina, even Mar will lie for her. Lying is a venial sin not mortal sin.

      That is why in the Philippines there is threshold of outrage. If they steal 100,000.00 pesos, it is venial sin, if it is in Binay Proportion it is mortal sin.

      The recent big-time crooks that were prosecuted and sent to prison is Ate Glo, Enrile, Marcos, Jinggoy, Binay …. WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON? They are browned skin colored ugly Filipinos. THE HANDSOME MESTIZO CLASS? Well, they are honest! Yes, the colonist the Filipinos kicked out ARE REALLY HONEST. And those who icked them out are not HONEST.

      WEIRD AIN’T IT? Here is my issue with this past and present election, NO MESTIZO CLASS ARE RUNNING FOR ELECTED OFFICE. THAT IS A SCARY THOUGHT.


      David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants is a non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell and published by Little, Brown and Company on October 1, 2013. The book focuses on the probability of improbable events occurring in situations where one outcome is greatly favored over the other. The book contains many different stories of these underdogs who wind up beating the odds, the most famous being the story of David and Goliath. Despite generally negative reviews, the book was a bestseller, rising to #4 on the New York Times Hardcover Non-fiction chart,..

      David and Goliath employs individual case studies and comparison to provide a wide range of examples where perceived major disadvantages in fact turn out to be the keys to the underdog Davids’ triumph against Goliath-like opponents or situations. In one arc, Gladwell cites various seeming afflictions that may in fact have significantly contributed to success, linking dyslexia with the high-flying career of lawyer David Boies, and the loss of a parent at an early age with the exceptional research work of oncologist Emil J. Freireich. These anecdotal lessons are anchored by references to research in the social sciences.

      During Estrada’s term, the BRP Sierra Madre was run aground deliberately. A street smart move by a street smart politician. An underdog kind of tactic, reminds me of someone I know who stopped his truck in the middle of Tondo when someone tried to ask for more money after he had already paid his “tara” at customs, and he was going to drive the container somehwere else. One hour traffic because of that, and the kotongs relented.

      Aquino’s strategy is more of the geek strategy. If you are the geek who meets bullies on the street, call the law. Don’t let the bully define the parameters. The UNCLOS filing might be a triumph for international law. Because internationally it is often the law of the jungle.

    • i7sharp says:

      “David & Goliath (oh, by the way, science has proven that David did not kill Golyat).”

      MRP, can you please provide more information on this?

      Irineo subsequently (after you) wrote of “David and Goliath,” as well.

      May I ask you (MRP) and Irineo to set the record straight?
      Do either of you actually believe Goliath was a real (not mythical) person?

      You might find this broadcast about “Giants” interesting, if only because it says Goliath was a giant (in time segment 28:40 or so):

      Part 1 (dated 4/22/2012) of 3.


      • i7sharp says:

        To MRP, Irineo, … to all:

        Am repeating this (hoping someone will reply):
        May I ask you (MRP) and Irineo to set the record straight?
        Do either of you actually believe Goliath was a real (not mythical) person?

        • David cheated, watch this:

          • David had the upper-hand. It was Goliath that needed some sort of divine help.

            Slingers were not only fast, but accurate. The odds were in David’s favor, hence divine intervention was redundant on his part, God should’ve helped out Goliath to even out the fight.


            • The metaphor still has merit though.

              China is Goliath, big & dumb; the Philippines can still be David, shoot first and ask questions later. Reality though is that currently it’s the other way around– China shot first, it’s up to Goliath to wake up before China cuts its head off completely.

              As for Giants, this is more accurate:

              • I think that the Philippines is best advised to be very careful… stand its ground… leverage the US and Vietnam alliances against China… but not become a pawn of a United States that might possibly revert to Dubya-style behavior under a possible President Trump…

                The US is changing I can see… but it can still revert to the spirit of Abu Ghraib, sadly. Pressure from the US is a good thing to make China crumble like the Soviets crumbled eventually in Europe, even if resurgent Russia is a problem, one more generation and the new middle class will be at the helm, and it will be a more civilized counterpart for Europe to deal with. Stronger economic cooperation cooperation with EU would become possible.

                China weakening in about 20 years, the USA becoming more representative of its not anymore white-dominated society – Obama is just a start. The result could be more cooperation and prosperity, but even then all three superpowers will keep options open. There will be no viable alternative to US predominance worldwide for about 100 years, finally sustainability will rule the day, less of the Age of Empires and more Relationships. The Philippines will prosper as a strong regional power like Turkey, or perish as a pawn…

              • I think the more responsible China hands (like Kissinger) are nudging China to continue on their path, but just be more responsible– a true colleague leader of nations. China still has potential, Russia less so– especially with more and more Russians leaving (like Israel’s yerida).

                The Philippines can win by not agreeing to a mano-y-mano, David vs. Goliath– type stand-off, but to leverage alliances and people, and the battlespace. Take advantage of the stalemate– you have about 20 yrs.

              • If Russia does not develop, it will just remain what it is now – an oil Emirate with snow…

                As for Philippine foreign policy, the new DFA people are much better trained than they used to be in the past. And they have more knowledge of other countries than the USA.

                Used to be that Philippine diplomats sneered at Indonesians for not speaking English. This kind of attitude is fortunately passe. They at least now know they are not in Hawaii. The country is no longer cut off from its neighborhood. After centuries of being colonized.

              • i7sharp says:

                LCpl_X, Irineo,

                What is your provenance of the David and Goliath narrative?
                If it is not the Bible (specifically the King James), then I must say I believe you are most likely misled.

                Why not try this?:
                and proceed verifying facts?

                Perhaps this one would be good to start with:



              • i7sharp says:

                @MRP, LCpl_X, Irineo

                Can you guys please make clear whether you believe David and Goliath were real people – or not?

                Here is someone else’s view about Gladwell. The article is relatively lengthy.
                Concluding paragraphs read:
                At least the difficulty finding a simple experiment to serve as illustration might have jarred Gladwell into realizing that there is no relevant nexus between the typeface effect, however fragile or robust it might turn out to be, and the effect of a neurological condition or the death of a parent. Pretending the connection is any more than metaphorical just loosens the threads of logic to the point of unraveling completely. But perhaps Gladwell already knows this. After all, in his Telegraph interview, he said readers don’t care about consistency and coherence, only critics and writers do.

                I can certainly think of one gifted writer with a huge audience who doesn’t seem to care that much. I think the result is the propagation of a lot of wrong beliefs among a vast audience of influential people. And that’s unfortunate.

              • i7sharp,

                As in anything, w/out stuff you can verify, you take it on face value. Gladwell is simply a storyteller/interpreter, he’s no scientist, but he uses others research work, and compiles it into his own narrative– I’ve disagreed with his points, especially in Outliers.

                But his interpretation of the David & Goliath story is a new one, one not so many people are aware of. I’ve always thought of this story as the weak vs. the strong. Gladwell flips it upside down, and a different meaning surfaces.

                The Bible isn’t the inerrant “word” of God. Likely, the Old Testament was compiled and harmonized during Solomon’s reign or after he died, this is the reason why he and his Dad shine so brightly.

                Whether there was an epic battle between David and Goliath or whether David was truly just a lowly shepherd, I don’t know. But I do think there was a historical David, whether the propaganda about him and his son are true that’s another story– it’s like the Marcos articles, by chempo, history’s written by the victors.

                If an epic, mano-y-mano did transpire between David and Goliath, I don’t think he was a real giant (I’ll change this view if there’s evidence of real Giants, but for now, I’ll read it as metaphor). I also don’t believe in fairies and Santa Claus.

                So whether you prefer David as the underdog or Gladwell’s David as the one with the upperhand in this fight, it’s how you interpret this story and use it in your life. For me, Gladwell’s re-interpretation opened up more research on trajectory and velocity of these slings, it’s also a great counter-insurgency meme, light and nimble wins.

                Once again, make your point using your own words, don’t rely on links & quotes. Remember you are Goliath and I am David. I shoot straight, have more than enough smooth stones and nimble. You only have your armor of website links, they didn’t serve you on our last match, they’ll not serve you ever.

                So make your points, you won’t win ground posting links.

              • I just found my proof, giants are real,

              • i7sharp says:

                “So make your points, you won’t win ground posting links.”

                Hmmm, …
                How would, for example, Twitter (to name one) work without links.
                Pray tell, please let me know.

                Let me forgo providing a link – just to drive the point (that without links things can be tougher to access, trace, or follow).

                In this thread I have provided a link that relates to “giants” (please see, if you will, my comment to MRP regarding “Golyat.”

                Perhaps you can see that video (which, btw, you cannot access without a link) made by someone who believes (as I, the fallible me, do) the KJB as *the* word of God.
                Try to find a contradiction in what he says (about giants or something else) which you can use as a second set of examples on the “contradictions” in the KJB.

                I have to provide this link
                or I will have harder time proving you wrong.

                To help you find more “contradictions,” let me provide this more recent video from the same person,

                The 4th Dimension, Samhain And Halloween


              • I can provide this link,


                About some guy that thinks Obama was part of a CIA time travel program, based in Mars. He thinks its true.

                Two can play at this game. But it becomes a great waste of time.

                So set up your links, tell me what it’s all about, I have no time to click on each single link you post. Use your own words, like what I’ve done above re the CIA time travel link, so I know what points youre trying to make. Otherwise, they are just links (Joe’s told you time and time again about this, it’s truly a very shallow learning curve, this is not that difficult).

                Again what is your point? That giants are real? Where is your proof? Don’t offer links, write your point down (along with the links). This is how normal people argue.

                I’m not clicking on your links, until you learn to make your points using your own words and reason, i7sharp.

                Until then. I’ll have to bow out, the Imee thread (mmmmmmmmmmmm….) deserves more of my attention than your hide/seek games.

              • i7sharp says:


                occurs 21 times in 19 verses in the KJV

                Now prove this wrong.
                Better and simpler yet, just give us your second set of “contradictions” in the KJV.

                Fair and simple enough?

              • “giant*”
                occurs 21 times in 19 verses in the KJV
                Now prove this wrong.

                Prove what wrong? That giants don’t occur 21 times in 19 verses of the KJV?

                I thought we were discussing the existence of giants, not how often the word occurs in the Bible, i7sharp.

                So what are we debating here? Are you attempting to offer the number of occurrence of the word in the KJV as proof? If so, you’d have to explain further. I can’t make that connection for you, man. Sorry.

              • “Better and simpler yet, just give us your second set of “contradictions” in the KJV.”

                In good time, i7sharp. For now I’d like to explore your thoughts on giants.

            • i7sharp says:

              “Otherwise, they are just links (Joe’s told you time and time again about this, it’s truly a very shallow learning curve, this is not that difficult).”

              If Joe keeps repeating that, it will become “gospel” here at The Society of Honor.

              Perhaps Joe and you can agree on an example (a link) to use to prove your points.

              I recently provided a link to the municipality of Mauban in Quezon province.
              Perhaps you two can provide a link to a site that gives you more information about Mauban than my (very simple) site does.

              Well, perhaps I should provide you the link to make it easy for you:


              In it you will find a link to my (very simple) site for the province Quezon.

              I happened to spend a couple of hours or so on this latter site.
              I hope you will see it complements the official website of the province … neatly (IIMSSM).
              If not, prove me wrong (even attack me, if that will make you feel better).

              Looking forward to your response(s).

              • Why is Mauban important? Is this your home province or something? Why should this be important to us here?

                Prove you wrong in what? That the Mauban link works? What is your point, i7sharp?

              • “(even attack me, if that will make you feel better).”

                No one’s attacking you, man, I’m just trying to get you out of your small bubble. I agree, w/ sonny, I know you mean well. I don’t know if it’s just old age or youre coming from within the autistic spectrum. But I’ve said it before, you have a beautiful mind, i7sharp.

                You just don’t know how to make a point, plus you’re a one trick pony (yahoo groups links and the King James bible). Share other interests and connect all those stuff to an over-arching point, then branch out to smaller scale points– like Wil’s passion for dogs, panned out with his mass communications approach.

                Like I said, you have a beautiful mind, it’s just stuck on repeat. Make other connections, then make a coherent point. You are contributing, but the problem is no one understands what you’re contributing.

              • This should help you put things in perspective,

              • i7sharp says:


                For one, am just walking my talk (about my love for the country).

                For another, trying to continue to address the comments of JoeAm and Irineo regarding LGUs and “land cases.”
                (I used Mauban as an example because I would like tomost respectfully get Sen. Saguisag’s input. He (Harvard law graduate) was born in Mauban.)

                For yet another, to eventually come again to this:
                “Your idea to link the barangays is FANTASTIC.”

                Did you notice the word “link”?
                Here is more info … via a link:



              • OK, I see. Why did you want to involve me with Mauban and LGUs, that’s not my strong suit… I thought we were talking about giants.

  4. jameboy says:

    Any proposal or suggestion about the US in relation to the issue should be framed in the context of her taking no sides on the issue. 👀

    • The US of course has its interests… looking at the shipping lanes it is very clear that if China can block US access to the trade with Southeast Asia by controlling the Spratleys, the United States will have a bit of a problem. Now don’t US and Philippine interests have a certain common denominator of at least 80%? Philippines wants to keep its islands, at least not lose its pawns without trading them for other pieces like recognition of its EEZ and to have safety for Palawan. So how can a common ground be found between Philippines and Vietnam who have to decide where to place the “fence” in the sea as neighbors there, plus the USA who have global interests as a superpower? I think it is a very delicate balancing act similar to Europe during the Cold War. The Big Game has moved to Southeast Asia.

    • Joe America says:

      There are three sides to the issue, territory of China, territory of the Philippines, and international waters. The US will engage for the latter, and to the extent that Philippine interests are the same, then they can be joined. That is the idea behind the EDCA bases, plus US readiness to defend the Philippines under the Mutual Defense Treaty and assist with storm relief.

      • Nero says:

        What about Vietnam that kicked out the Philippines in the past from an island ?

        • Joe America says:

          What about Viet Nam? Viet Nam was an observer during the presentation of oral arguments at the UNCLOS arbitration hearing, and Viet Nam and the Philippines have a good relationship. If you have a point to make, you’ll have to do make it, as I can’t read your mind.

      • Nero says:

        Sailing Directly Into Chinese 12 NM is not innocent passage but a vulgar provocation. An innocent passage means passing from Point A to Point B Without Malice and Expediently. What USN do is Threatening the Chinese in the islands with a fully loaded destroyer, heading Direct to them. This is the same reason why China declare ADIZ over East China Sea and may be forced to do so with South China Sea to Flush Out ill intent of her enemies sailing/flying Into her territories.

        If US want to make a genuine FONOP, she should make a big show by sailing in the middle of the South China Sea and China could not care less as it threaten nobody.

        USN deliberately picking on Subi and Mischief Reefs is suspect. There is no proof so far they are Low Tide Elevation which allow USN to sail into the 12 NM up to 500 meter. It is impossible for US to be absolutely sure since the Chinese control the reefs and there is no way US spy satellites,P8 planes can take every square meter of the reefs Prior to Chinese buildups and show they are only LTE. Sunlight reflections, night time High Tide makes it impossible for US to be sure there wasn’t a few rocks cropping up at least an inch or more above the sea which will nullify US claims the reefs were submerged during High Tide.

        Until US give evidence, US should stop lying to the public and create a war with China. US have lied before about WMD in the Iraq War, so US must provide 100% proof to show the world her FONOP is based on solid legal footing.

        • Joe America says:

          Okay, Nero. You are advocating the China position like so many visitors in the past who turned out to be deceptive trolls manipulating both access to the site and the arguments they would make. Would you kindly identify your nationality, location and interest in the matter? Until I am satisfied you are interested in conversation and not selling a political solution on behalf of China, your comments will be moderated. Thank you.

          Your arguments are nonsense if we put the best interest of the United States or Philippines in first position.

        • josephivo says:

          So you slam me in the face (occupying stuff close to my borders) and if my friend lifts his fist than you call it provocation? Strange definition of provocation. The “pro” stands for first, provocateur is the one who acts first and that was certainly not the US. You could talk about unneeded action or unconstructive action.

          Vulgar provocation I would call an action out of the blue, with no prior history, as in building one by one artificial islands in a sea that you don’t own according international law.

          The aggressive use of words gives the nationality of your paymaster away.

          • I also shared this with a Ukrainian who is a manager at a German company… she is sponsoring individual soldiers in the Ukraine by buying them non-military but essential gear in German sports shops – thermo clothing, boots and stuff like that…

            The Chinese method of just occupying islands reminds me of Russia’s methods in Crimea, Transnistria in Moldavia and in parts of Georgia – not the US state the Caucasian country.

            They would like to agitate in Latvia where there is a sizable Russian minority, but most of them are contented with the opportunities that life in the EU gives them, so many work in Germany and other EU countries and go to the dachas (country houses) in summer…

      • Nero says:

        Also, it’s significant that several other regional countries, India, Malaysia and Thailand, share China’s position on military activities in the EEZ.

        Washington then aggravates the situation by referring to the waters of the South China Sea as ‘international waters’, ignoring the reality that these waters are actually the EEZs of the bordering countries, including China. It also ignores the fact that the high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight available to other countries in these waters shall be exercised with what UNCLOS calls ‘due regard’ to the rights and duties of the relevant coastal State. The freedoms of navigation being claimed by the US in the South China Sea aren’t absolute and have to be exercised with ‘due regard’ to the rights of coastal States. For the US now to be claiming them appears as though it’s ignoring the sui generis nature of the EEZ established by UNCLOS.

        The last law of the sea issue arises from sending aircraft and ships within 12 nautical miles of the reefs and islands occupied by China. This would be an exercise of the right of innocent passage available through the territorial sea. Even though the features may not be full ‘islands’ under UNCLOS, they have a territorial sea. Sending ships and aircraft into such waters specifically for demonstrating a right is NOT a legitimate exercise of innocent passage. UNCLOS makes clear that innocent passage should be ‘continuous and expeditious’, and shouldn’t involve ‘any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State.’

        • jameboy says:

          UNCLOS makes clear that innocent passage should be ‘continuous and expeditious’, and shouldn’t involve ‘any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State.’
          I don’t know what part in what the US did constitute a ‘threat or use of force’. Only the aggressive claimant, China, made a fuss about the US sailing in the contested area. And it’s expected because she wants to project and impress her status as one who has the jurisdiction over the territory. Well, the court in Hague has a different opinion about it.

          • Nero says:

            If US want to make a genuine FONOP, she should make a big show by sailing in the middle of the South China Sea and China could not care less as it threaten nobody.

          • Nero says:

            Coming armed close to your house door or in the middle of the street seems for you the same. (no threat before your house door).

            • jameboy says:

              The premise ‘your house’ is not the case on the issue. It’s actually about ‘the street’ or passageway. If a military or police passes the street in front of my house, why will I feel threatened?

          • Joe America says:

            jameboy, Nero is likely a Chinese troll, another in a series of peddlers who is not interested in Philippine well-being or forthright discussion. It is fruitless to expect comprehension. He is blocked for now, and further messages from him that are basically peddling the Chinese line will be sent to spam. This forum is not in existence to give China a propaganda outlet.

        • Joe America says:

          Nations that have claims to islands share the Philippine view, not the Chinese view, as you well know. I don’t know the positions of India, Malaysia and Thailand, and they are largely irrelevant to the dispute over the Spratleys.

          Again, you advocate the Chinese line was if you were selling shoes.

        • That India is on China’s side is total nonsense – both had a war in the Himalayas I know a Punjabi who witnessed it firsthand, and India has been helping Vietnam in recent years.

          Malaysia is unfortunately dealing very closely with China, Thailand I don’t know as of now.

      • jameboy says:

        As to the interest of the claimant countries in the region, the US is taking the neutral stand. I’m not sure as to what can be ‘joined’ between the US and PHL aside from their mutual interest to have peace and regional security in the area which also happens to be the objective of other claimant countries.

        With respect to the Mutual Defense Treaty, we have to be very specific as to its implementation. While it is clear as to its purpose of having common determination between the two countries to defend themselves against external armed attack, it is still unclear if the same can be resorted in the case of territorial dispute in the region.

        • Nero says:

          “the US is taking the neutral stand”,

          The problem is that the US never objected to the actions of other countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan, who all have outstanding territorial disputes in the region and who all acted in their various ways to assert their national sovereignty there like China.

          While you can make the case that China is simply more powerful, the problem is the obvious double standard with respect to how a country and their claims are treated based solely on the alliance status of that country with the US.

          • jameboy says:

            But the dimension or span of the action taken by China in the area cannot be compared to what the other claimants did. You are correct, China is simply more powerful.

            Why? If there was parity in military capability with all the claimants we could have had a shooting war in the area by now. Is China’s military might a blessing then? In a way, yes. It’s a half-full or half-empty cup kind of thing view. However, it is not a sure shot because her strength can also be her weakness in the long run.

          • Joe America says:

            The US is engaged in none of the territorial disputes so of course they would not object to the actions of any country. Other countries are not threatening to block sea and air routes through/above international waters. The US direct interest is in preserving international rights of travel, not sovereignty issues of other nations. The US properly defers to those nations to take care of their own business. Australia is also discussing the sending of ships near Chinese outposts for the same reason.

            You presume that the US, like China, should insert herself into the affairs of other states as some kind of moral and military authority. The US does not think like China.

            • NHerrera says:

              Re-country thinking: US Thinking; China Thinking; Australia Thinking.

              Australia — which is China’s one big source of industrial materials from the resources-rich Australia — must be strategically balancing its short-term against long-term international interests. I hope Australia follows through in its thinking.

              • Joe America says:

                We’ll know soon, I think, if Australia is in it for the principles and leadership, or is happy letting the US carry the load. I smile, because I traveled to Australia in 2004, and the people there were pretty pissed off at the US for its Iraq escapades and the Bush manipulations. Yet if Australia herself will not step up into leadership in Asia, then it does default to the US, for all her mistakes and good will.

  5. Good morning everybody… so one scary clown just appeared… we have adopted Halloween here in Germany recently but I stayed at home last night, too many louts using Halloween as an excuse for mischief, just like “Witches Night” or Walpurgisnacht on April 30 has become totally wacky…

    In my article, I mentioned other countries as a long-term perspective for allies – Thailand may be wrong, remove it and put Australia there. Indonesia is fine, India maybe because they hate China.

    Joe I put some of your old articles on China in my FB “scrapbook” which is just a selection of FB shares I consider relevant, especially the one about why China cannot be trusted and the one where you dissect the island issue like chess.. OK Senator Sotto’s Halloween prank is there too…

  6. Max says:

    Vietnam is being smart and looking at this long term unlike the Philippines. The Vietnamese know that it is foolish to anger the giant next door and make an enemy of China. Vietnam saw how the Soviets did not come to their aid during the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979 and how in the end the U.S. abandoned or betrayed South Vietnam in 1975 (depending on your point of view).

    What Vietnam is looking for here is to strengthen their position vis a vis China and gain leverage for any negotiations or de facto understanding with the PRC going forward over the Paracels & the Spratlys.
    The Philippines in turn due to both domestic considerations (nationalism & political rivalries) and foreign pressure (United States) abandoned that path when Aquino took office and have gone all in with the United States, a foolish mistake in my personnel opinion.

    • The present negotiation with the Philippine proves that it is otherwise. The Vietnamese will not accede to Chinese regional hegemony. Their independence is something they have fought for all these centuries and they will not give it away that easily. Vietnamese are first and foremost nationalists before anything else, a warlike race that does not cower and will not be so foolish to give in to China. Joe has an article here were he refers to China calling Japan, Vietnam, Philippines the three dogs of the USA. What you are trying to do here is to influence public opinion in the Philippines, and intimidate the street dog Philippines… and in the sea once Vietnam and Philippines are allied, it is like in the game go – two eyes live.

      • Max says:

        “The present negotiation”, at what you refer ?

        Japan isn’t a dog, they just pretend to be.
        SK, is balanced
        Vietnam, looking at long term

        • Negotiations between Vietnam and Philippines mentioned in my article.

          Dogs is the term that China uses according to Joe, Vietnam long-term will never want to be a vassal of anyone especially not China. Japan and China as allies – won’t happen.

  7. Max says:

    The problem is that people are speaking as if there is an established norm of international law that clearly applies to this case. There is not. There has never been a case where sovereignty over a broad area is disputed in different degrees by different countries. “International law” is only ever the common will of countries, and where countries fundamentally differ, it is up to them to agree on base principles before anyone can unambiguously declare something to be in accordance with or in opposition with “international law.” For now, saying that China is against international law is simply saying that they are not doing what you want them to do. There is no law that says that China’s claims are invalid. The “law” as it stands only states that certain countries are entitled to certain rights based on some arbitrary definitions. When it runs up against preexisting claims or indeed facts on the ground, why is the current law so intrinsically right that sovereign claims must give way?

    • The Hague will rule according to the established norms that are the consensus of a large number of countries. Now what they rule will be the position from which China shall be engaged further. The Cold War situation pertaining to Berlin is a similar example. The different interpretations of the status of Berlin by the Western Allies and the Warsaw pact led to decades of stand-off that were finally ended by the 2+4 German reunification treaty.

      It is a valid thing that one group is now looking for a consensus in terms of interpretation of what is to be considered right. This could be the position from which further collective negotiations with China – combined with defensive measures i.e. standoff – take place.

  8. Max says:

    If the US is so sure of victory then they should fire. There is no use in pretending that bluster can intimidate the Chinese into surrender.

    • Standing ones ground like at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961 is the best way to go.

      • Max says:

        So you believe that it is better to go into a Cold War with China rather than let the Chinese naturally accumulate preponderant power in the SCS as the reasonably strongest power. You might be a control freak but why do the Chinese have to accept it?

        • As long as the Chinese are the way they are – not able to deal with others as normal partners, like Russia was in Eastern Europe and is acting in the Ukraine now, it does not make sense for countries to let China rule the area. The USA is an ally in this matter just like it was and is an ally in keeping Russia out of the core of Europe. My article mentions common values that the Philippines shares with the USA, and not with the Chinese.

          I recommend again Joe’s article Why China is not to be trusted – especially their racism.

  9. Max says:

    Territorial seas and EEZs do not exist before they are declared. UNCLOS signatories should also send their claims to UNCLOS for review and public commentary to validate the legality of the claims and clarify potential overlapping claims.

    China has not declared any territorial sea nor EEZ on Spratlys and does not in its objections refer to them either.

    China is setting up a long-term project to get Vietnam and the Philippines out of central Spratlys, and the land reclamation are just an intermediary step to achieve that goal. China’s actions should be seen as a large-scale security project. Those who concentrate on whether or not China follows or intends to follow UNCLOS are following the wrong red herring as UNCLOS plays only a tiny role in the overall development.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve approved this comment as the aim to get Viet Nam and the Philippines out of the central Spratleys is interesting, but does not explain China’s occupancy of Scarborough Shoal.

      Max, kindly provide your nationality and location, and give us an understanding of why this subject is of importance to you.

      Thank you.

      • Joe, these trolls remind me of the Space Nazis in this crazy Finnish movie. And since Sarah Palin is not America’s President like in the movie, an escalation with China is very unlikely. OK Trump might try to escalate if he wins, but then the Philippines must be careful and let the USA under The Donald do its thing – and of course help if the terms of the alliance are defined that way, but not provoke anything first – all the more a President is needed who is astute and calm in dealing with the matter, like West Berlin’s mayors…

        • So now everybody knows what inspires me to write stuff like what is in the link below.

          and we are today many steps closer to this future NOT happening than when I wrote it.


            And this bright future is what we should all be working for, in word and in deed:

            February 25, 2056. President Boy Bastos commemorates the 70th anniversary of the February revolution. Due the anti-dynasty law passed by President Bam Aquino in 2029, candidates from non-political families have become common. Political party laws have eased the formation of citizen parties, carried by the owners of small and medium-sized businesses. The Philippine Senate was abolished President Leni Robredo in 2025 and replaced by the Council of Provinces, which is in each province elected by the Council of Barangays. The 2025 Constitution was promulgated by plebiscite. Direct democracy was implemented at all levels: national, provincial and barangay during the time of President Aquino IV in 2035. The Philippines uses three languages: Ilokano, Tagalog and Cebuano. English, Spanish and Bahasa are the three languages that can be chosen from as the one foreign language that must be learned in the revised K-12 curriculum implemented by President Robredo.

            President Mar Roxas used his term to push through a major revamp of the justice, penal and police system, thus restoring people’s confidence in the rule of law. The Corruption Amnesty Law of 2017 gave those who had ill-gotten wealth the chance to be amnestied under the condition that they returned the money, with the only penalty being barred from public office and public service for life. The Bandit Amnesty Law of 2018 likewise allowed NPAs and other groups to return to normal life, with the same penalty as the Corruption Amnesty Law. This all boosted the country’s economy. The Resettlement Act of 2019 forced squatters to build their own houses on allotted land outside of the cities, but with industrial development areas to give them jobs nearby. Mar endorsed Leni in 2022.

            In 2020, Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame are no longer in Metro Manila, just like many other government agencies which have been distributed across the country. Tax incentives and the improved internet have caused many businesses and people to leave Metro Manila, which has a population of only 8 million in 2020 as opposed to 11 million in 2015. High-capacity train lines with stations along Manila Bay connect Metro Manila to Cavite, Batangas City, Angeles, Olongapo, Tarlac City and Atimonan, allowing for efficient commuting. The Manila Bay Barrier project to counter rising sea levels, with a train line and expressway on top between Mariveles and Looc, has been started, to be finished in 2026 with Dutch expertise. Similar train and expressway projects are being done in Mindanao.

            The EDCA agreement passes the Supreme Court in 2017. The alliance with Vietnam is forged in the same year, blocking further Chinese expansion in the Spratleys. The ITLOS filing was won in 2018. Faced with the possibility of an impasse, China entered into trilateral negotiations with Vietnam and the Philippines. Resource exploitation licenses for China with a 15% share of the profit for each of the co-owners of the Spratleys, Vietnam and the Philippines were finally agreed upon in 2021.

            The Philippine Navy in 2028 consists of a large number of missile and drone-carrying boats and a given number of helicopter carriers. The Philippine Cybersecurity Agency monitors the Internet against possible threats.

          • Joe America says:

            I’m still going to take my son to the shooting range when he gets a little older.

        • Joe America says:

          The persistence of the band of trolls is peculiar, a paid force, obviously, with a job to do, and laboring through it. The same characters keep coming back to try again, then a new one, like Max. Generally dry and dull, pushing nonsense. I have not seen the movie, but this band is rather robotic and unemotional, almost as if typing from a script.

  10. chempo says:

    If the trolls are PRC officials, I have nothing to say. But if they are ordinary patriotic Chinese citizens, or even Chinese apologists, then they are very much like Marcos loyalists. They are suckers, duped by agendas that they do not fathom. Let me explain.

    There are those who think China’s island claims in Philippines seas, and even those in Japan waters, are not pure territorial grabs. Simple fact — China have never even hinted of this in the last 5,000 years, even when they were in good position to do so. Neither was it over oil reserves. They could have easily gone into joint partnership arrangements with Vietnam and Philippines, the way they are doing all over Africa. Why then bother with this big international problem. Revanchism? Unlikely, because the occupation of the islands was not reactive but a planned initiative. So what then is the big deal?

    It is the same old problem. When a country has problems, macroeconomics or whatever, find a scapegoat to divert the attention of the population. There is no doubt China is facing economic problems. Their reports in public do not necessarily tell a real story. China has a real transparency issue. Remember, Chinese think very long term. In a democratic country, political leadership is removed at the polls when the people are displeased. In China, there is no alternative to the Communist Party. When domestic discontent arise in the future, the political leadership now has 3 cards to play — Japan, Philippines and Taiwan. To watch the way these cards will be played or accelerated, watch China’s economy.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m pretty sure they are on the payroll. The structure of the arguments is formal, there is a persistence to them (same person, multiple identities and e-mails). Some of the arguments are interesting, but the dialogue deteriorates into selling of the China line, fully, completely.

    • Chempo, you definitely have a point… even if I like Joe believe these are paid trolls they probably embody a certain direction within China… maybe they are Philippine Makapilis or Chinese collaborators… but revanchism always was used to divert from internal troubles… German revanchism like that of the Nazis was used to divert from economic problems (Versailles treaty was blamed for many things, the Social Democrats who declared the Weimar Republic were blamed for everything by reactionary forces, much like the LP in the Philippines today) and internal disunity – Catholic Bavarians in the South did not feel they had much of a role in a nation mainly ruled by Protestant Prussians whose capital was Berlin, were much closer to Austrians in mindset than to Germans North of the Danube…

      President Aquino used the analogy of Czechoslovakia (not Ilocoslovakia which I have seen on some jeepneys) to drive home exactly your point… Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland were the three cards Nazi Germany played… the salami tactics by which Hitler took over the Sudetenland in the 1930s were a prelude to the Second World War… provocations may happen similar to how Hitler started WW2 by provoking the passionate Poles, making it look as if they started shooting while omitting the provocation in his famous 1939 speech.. German historian Götz Aly (descended from Turkish POWs from the Vienna siege, therefore the Oriental-sounding name) proved that Germany was broke when WW2 started and had to start raiding to pay the debts incurred by Marcos’, I mean Hitler’s many projects.

      What I very much respect is the Aquino knows his history and applies it very smartly to his politics… unusual for what I know of Filipino leaders… but the sensitive situation right now needs leaders like Mar Roxas who have read their Dostoevsky – like Zafra has shown… or maybe even Tolstoy who knows… because this kind of reading teaches how the Game of Thrones that is international politics has worked from time immemorial and always will. Aquino’s three-pronged strategy: EDCA, UNCLOS, Vietnam – ensures that the Philippines will not be played as a card for the moment. Japan and Taiwan have stable US backing. So it is in the interest of China to make sure a Philippine President is elected who will cave in or do their bidding – which IMHO is the reason for such trolls making trouble in this blog.

      • chempo says:

        Hi fi to that. Whilst China is revanching now, it is not doing soon to divert economic problems. There are domestic problems, but not yet a concern of national security levels. My finer point is that they the claim now to prepare for a card to play when domestic problems explode.

    • Personally, I think it’s Filipinos like Primer, who are anti-American, ergo pro-Chinese.

      I don’t think its Chinese-Filipinos, since these guys would be hedging their bets and keeping their reading of situations close to their chest. Though China has enough people employed in cyber-warfare, I think (even for them) commenting on blogs, would be a waste of energy– especially haphazardly.

      But Filipinos like Primer getting paid by China is also possible. If it’s Primer himself, I wouldn’t be surprised. If I were a Chinese big shot in the PLA I’d focus on newspapers and politicians over there. And if I were to employ agent-provocateurs in popular blog sites, they’d be long-term type guys (smooth), not hit-n-run jokers.

      • chempo says:

        Were you in military intel haha..

        • LOL! Nope I work for a living, chempo. But I do love me some W.E.B Griffin novels.

          But the Chinese hedging their bets and keeping their options close to their hearts, you only need to live in California for that.

      • I think that among Filipinos of Chinese descent you have all variants… Chinese-Filipinos who have their options still open, the earlier Cojuangcos were still like that, Filipino-Chinese who are more Filipino in their habits but still very Chinese in traditions… and finally Chinoys who are one of the many flavors of Filipino. Chinoys I have observed are usually more analytical than Malay Filipinos, NHerrera and Andrew Lim are proofs of that. But Andrew seems to have Filipino passion, while NHerrera has Filipino compassion, both on top of the fiercely logical way in which they dissect things which is NOT Malay-Filipino…

        Cory Aquino was mainly Chinoy but still spoke Fukienese, so her father may have been more Filipino-Chinese, her grandfather Chinese-Filipino. Danding and Peping Cojuangco are more Filipino-Chinese than Chinoy. Noynoy and Kris are Filipinos, their father being more Filipino with a probable slight Spanish mix, both don’t speak Fukienese anymore like their mother. There are Chinese-Filipinos who insist on no intermarriage though, until now.

        As for recent trolls, they will be either pro-Chinese neo-Marcos or Maoist Filipino leftists. Maybe not even paid, maybe even by conviction. Like Revolutionary General Ricarte who was pro-Japanese by conviction, being anti-American, and helped form the MAKAPILI.

    • Joe America says:

      The trolls are now writing under the name of legitimate people, the latest being Mark Mobius, PH.D. Executive Chairman Templeton Emerging Markets Group Singapore. Do you think Templeton would troll this blog?

  11. DAgimas says:

    continue the arbitration but reach out to China too. Boo Chanco puts it wisely. “We also need the West Philippines Sea more thanthey do, for our food security, energy security, for our poor fishermen. we are not the enemy etc”

    relying on the US is not really a good policy. you will never know if they are on your back or not but US challenging China on the SCS helps a little it but it wont improve our chances. negotiate instead for duty free access to our products instead of waiting for hand me down surplus military equipments. Phils could buy military hardware if the govt just allocate resources more wisely (cut IRAs for “well off LGUs, just one remedy) or if there is high level of employment as a result of increase access to US or Japan markets, then benefits could redound to more defense spending

  12. HighFive says:

    Being an archipelagic State, the chain of islets in the Spratley are part of the Philippine Archipelago. I’m basing it on what the Law of the Sea says about an Archipelagic State:
    “Article 46
    (a) “archipelagic State” means a State constituted wholly by one or more archipelagos and may include other islands;
    (b) “archipelago” means a group of islands, including parts of islands, interconnecting waters and other natural features which are so closely interrelated that such islands, waters and other natural features form an intrinsic geographical, economic and political entity, or which historically have been regarded as such.”
    No other State in the disputed area has a status of an archipelagic state. UN officially approved Philippines as an archipelagic state in December 1982 along with 4 more other states. I think that’s a very strong legal basis of legitimacy of claim.
    UN officially approved Philippines as an archipelagic state in December 1982 along with 4 more other states. I think that’s a very strong legal basis of legitimacy of claim for Philippines.

    Philippines can also prove it has secured long ago Exercise of Sovereignty to the islands. The warship that was deliberately grounded by Philippine soldiers on top of Ayungin Shoal decades ago is a proof of marking a territory. Thus, it is an exercise of sovereignty.
    One more proof of Exercise of Sovereignty Philippines can present in Court is, one of the islands in Spratley called Pag-Asa Island, has been a residence to several Filipino families for number of decades already.
    Philippines can also emphasize to the Court China’s questionable remoteness to the islands. UNCLOS’ 200nm requirement tells a lot how proximity matters in territorial claims.
    Philippines can also question China’s historical basis position because historical evidence alone cannot constitute a territorial title.

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