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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Joint US-Philippine patrol in WPS doubtful

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All these prop-up alliances of the US allegedly to defend the Philippines from China is but a scare crow, and not really for our defense

The Philippines as an independent and sovereign state should not allow other countries to participate in a joint patrol in the West Philippine Sea.

First, the exercise of joint patrol involves acts of interdicting foreign vessels that may violate our territory’s sovereignty.

Remember, vessels are considered part of their territory that once boarded could constitute a violation of their territory.

Interdicting foreign vessels constitutes an act of war where China can rightfully act in self-defense, viz. to accuse the US of unilaterally and arbitrarily interdicting foreign vessels in international waters.

Likewise, it constitutes a violation of their right to freedom of navigation.

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Such could pit the Philippines into a proxy war with China, a situation which the US wants to happen like what it recently did in Ukraine, resulting in devastation and untold human sufferings.

No state that values sovereignty and its territorial independence will allow any vessel to be interdicted/boarded on high seas.

As stated, interdicting foreign vessels on high seas would directly violate the right of other countries to freedom of navigation which the Philippines can neither claim ownership over that particular area.

Second, the Scarborough as a disputed territory is not determined by our proclamation of the area like what former President Aquino did.

Our national territory was rather demarcated by the US and Spain in the Treaty of Paris on Dec. 10, 1898.

Third, the Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc is outside of the 200-mile exclusive economic zone accorded by the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Fourth, the concept of a joint patrol involving two states in international waters is illegal.

It would involve third parties to the commission of an illegal act which is prohibited by international law, unless a treaty is ratified granting that a joint patrol will have the power to carry out an embargo on goods transported by foreign vessels.

Nonetheless, such will remain treated as a unilateral act of the state.

Our withdrawal during the stand-off with China in the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 was equivalent to our act of giving up the Scarborough Shoal to China.

Fifth, the Scarborough stand-off was most crucial to determination if the US will fulfill its treaty obligation with the Philippines.

EDCA was already operational yet when the stand-off happened, the US issued flimsy excuses it will not come to defend our own territory.

It is indeed doubtful whether the US, Japan, Australia, South Korea and India will go to war with China in the West Philippine Sea over a disputed territory.

The US has particularly denied any direct involvement with China in the West Philippine Seas over disputed claims in the South China Sea.

Sixth, the change of name of that portion in our territory in the South China Sea, now called by us as West Philippine Sea has not been submitted to the United Nations and for ratification.

Seventh, the Philippines cannot involve other countries in a dispute involving claims of disputed territory without a treaty ratified by our Senate. Such would constitute a Constitutional derogation to our treaty.

There is more braggadocio when our President said he will not surrender an inch of Philippine territory to China.

But history tells us it was China that kicked us out of the Scarborough Shoal; Pugad Island was snatched from us by Vietnam; and to this date, we have an unresolved claim over North Borneo or Sabah.

Our failure to pursue said claim is the intransigence support of the US and UK, which in turn is supported by the US.

In the end, all these prop-up alliances of the US allegedly to defend the Philippines from China is but a scare crow, and not really for our defense.

The purpose and the intention are clear: which is to give justification for the continued US military presence and expansion of their bases in the country.

Chairman Mao Zedong said, “imperialism and all reactionaries are paper tigers.”

rpkapunan@gmail.com

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