Amid the increasing tensions in the West Philippine Sea between the Chinese and the country’s coast guards, former National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos is already pushing the government to go on the offensive after years of exercising patience.
Over the years, the Chinese coast guard patrolling the area has been known for aggressive moves against their deemed “enemies” like the Philippines. Technically, we are not at war with China, but this giant bully tends to regard claimant countries surrounding the West Philippine Sea as foes such that, the moment they see that the latter are patrolling in the contested waters, they resort to offensive attacks.
We can be more diplomatic in saying that such offensive moves are merely decided by the Chinese coast guard on duty without the consent and knowledge of the Chinese national command and do not affect our friendly relations with China. But it is doubtful that the higher Chinese authorities do not know anything about these; they should know, with standing orders to do what the coast guard on duty is exactly doing. The Chinese government is still to blame for the hostile behavior of its maritime forces on duty.
Of course, China is quick to defend its actions as a normal monitoring procedure for protecting “their territories”. But how come they “protect” a territory that is well within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines? It’s their right to do so if a piece of territory forms part of their legally occupied territory. But if it is a territory that they merely claim for it belongs to a rightful owner, then they have no right to “protect” it; they must go home.
The suggestion of the former NSA secretary to go on the offensive against China’s illegal presence in the country’s territorial waters is just one of desperation, knowing that we seem to have already exhausted our patience. We’ve had enough of China’s bullying. We are no match against this military giant, but at least, we fight it out.