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Monday, December 4, 2023

Considering the US Coast Guard to join the Philippines in patrolling South China Sea

If the issue of sovereignty is not resolved through peaceful means, there is the likely possibility of it resulting into war.”

The idea of a joint maritime patrol by the US Coast Guard and by the Philippine Coast Guard to ward off the continuing incursion of Chinese militia in the South China Sea is a suggestion better said than implemented.

When one suggests the idea of a joint patrol it connotes the Philippines is unable to patrol and control our own border against our biggest neighbor in the South China.

First, it connotes that there a dispute between China and the Philippines.

Second our invitation for the US partakes that of a guarantor to our security, nullifying it has openly admitted to have no claim in the South China Sea.

What we have as our neighbor is the People’s Republic of China for which we have a dispute in the South China Sea and with many of the littoral states in the region.

What we have is a border dispute where the failure of both parties failed to agree on their respective boundaries.

But in our case, our boundary with China has clearly been demarcated in the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898, meaning the boundaries beyond the demarcated as boundaries is now considered an international water, or open to freedom of navigation.

In fact, it was the boundaries demarcated in the Treaty of Paris that estopped our claim to any of these islands located outside of the Treaty.

The matter got complicated because of our position to invite the US join us in patrolling the South China Sea.

Philippine Ambassador to the US, Jose Manuel “Babes” Romualdez, began by suggesting leasing out the US military bases granted it under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

It was questioned because it violated the basic purpose of the agreement and of our Constitution.

It cannot be argued the Philippines invited the US Coast Guard to help us patrol the long-stretch of South China Sea.

It was the US that prodded us to secure an agreement to justify its presence in the area.

It having no claim in the area was done to limit its responsibility.

Nonetheless, the US will be the one that would stake its future in the area.

The US and its naval units patrolling the South China Sea cannot alone insist on freedom of navigation.

It is free to navigate and patrol the area based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea but it has no limited rights which is to regularly patrol and navigate the area so sensitive to China and to abet moves by that breakaway island called Taiwan.

Such is to exercise of hegemonism which could not be treated favorably by China and other countries which are littoral to the South China Sea.

US presence in the South China Sea has become awkward since it insists it has no claim to any of the territories in the South China Sea.

Its presence is only justified by that Cold War, which is to maintain the two-China policy; that of securing Taiwan to stop China from invading that island.

The US position has become so untenable the US continues to solicit support from its allies in the Indo-Pacific region to resuscitate the geo-political alliance, and impressed most countries that the newly formed groupings may one day urge Taiwan to take a separate move towards independence from China.

For our ambassador to invite the US Coast Guard to consider joining in patrolling the West Philippine Sea is motivated by selfish consideration of wanting to expand US military bases agreement in the Philippines without going through the constitutional process of having the treaty ratified by the Senate.

It seems our ambassador does not understand the US has no territorial claim in the disputed area called South China Sea.

It has no direct interest except in securing its interest in the island, and prevent China from invading the islands, a prize it is willing to pay.

Our ambassador wants to engage China in a war over an island for which it could not possibly defend nor protect despite the enormous armada of the US.

Even sensible Americans who could clearly delineate their country’s national interest are unwilling to plunge their country into war with China.

Only the ideological bigots made up of the neoliberals and those supported by the US military-industrial complex who today represent the financiers of wars are the ones hooting for war.

Americans could easily discern they could not be duped to engage in war on the basis of a collateral agreement provoked by one with which it has no direct military alliance.

It is sad the only country willing to go to war with China over Taiwan is the Philippines like what the US did to sow intrigue in Ukraine until the contradiction for war became inevitable.

I say it was this ambassador who first broached the idea of having some of the US military bases be rented out to Taiwan, unmindful such decision would have the dreadful consequence of the country being directly involved in war with China.

Such silly idea is no different for a joint patrol with the US Coast Guard to patrol the whole stretch of South China Sea.

Regular patrol means routine monitoring of enemy vessels passing through that body of water, and all ships must observe certain protocol to avoid misunderstanding and conflict.

It is on this basis why the idea of a joint patrol by both the Philippine Coast Guard and the US Coast Guard is outlandish to comprehend: first, that duty primarily involves the enforcement of sovereignty and of the country’s territorial integrity.

Second, a joint patrol usually involves the enforcement of punitive and police action for the enforcement of our laws against violators.

Usually, violators often involve foreign powers.

Such action cannot just be relegated to other countries as they involve that country’s sovereignty.

If the issue of sovereignty is not resolved through peaceful means, there is the likely possibility of it resulting into war.

That could result in a proxy war with China over the issue unheard of in geo-politics.

Romualdez should be removed by the President as our ambassador.

He violated the basic norm of diplomacy that could lead this country to war with China.

What he is doing is an open betrayal of his duty as our ambassador: secure and protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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