The build up in Palawan is a clear and present danger | Part 1
By C. de los Angeles
THE ANSWER is Yes. Any way you look at it we have been under attack for years with China slowly escalating and we are doing nothing to stop it, in fact our politicians have been unknowingly or willingly supporting our enemy.
Last March 2021, the Philippines protested the presence of more than 200 fishing vessels or Chinese militia ships (depending on who you ask) within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at Julian Felipe Reef off Palawan. The Chinese ambassador at the time said they were seeking shelter from bad weather.
Weeks have passed and they are still there, in fact the Armed Forces of the Philippines are uncertain if they have increased because they have spread out over more areas than before.
This prompted Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on 03 April 2021 to issue a strongly worded statement:
I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no other reason to stay there.
The Chinese finally showed their real intent and how they have been deceitful in their past communications. After Defense Secretary Lorenzana’s emphatic statement the Chinese embassy in Manila issued the following statement by Mr. Huang Xilian:
The Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Islands. The waters around Niu’e Jiao has been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen for many years.
This statement shows they have laid claim to our territory right before our eyes. Their use of their own names for our land and their claim it has been their traditional fishing ground for many years is in support of their claim that it is historically theirs.
Beijing is taking advantage of our predicament with COVID-19, which originated from them, which only shows they have no intention in being a big brother to our Asian neighbors but being our ruler, with us all as their slaves.
What went before? UNCLOS or the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea which both China and the Philippines are signatories came into operation and became effective from the 16th November 1982. Significant in this Law of the Sea is it provides full money rights to nations for a 200-mile zone by their shoreline. The sea and oceanic bed extending this area is regarded to be an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and any country can use these waters for its economic utilization.
What’s in a name? Since the largest sea off China is called the South China Sea they have marked the whole area with what they call the nine dash line. Laying claim to the whole sea is in violation of UNCLOS and at the expense of all the Asian countries that border the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines files a legal protest. Our legal luminaries like former Justice Antonio Carpio filed a protest and won a ruling in the international tribunal on 12 July 2016. The decision states that China’s nine dash line has no legal basis and awards the Philippines its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
However, China quickly built a fortified military base on one of the reefs with missiles and fighter jets to secure the area while the Philippines could only watch and its so-called allies offering no assistance except lip service. (To be continued…)