As expected, but is unnecessary and inappropriate, China is protesting against the RP-US Balikatan Military Exercises and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) intended to bolster the military alliance between the Philippines and the United States.
China is viewing all these as gestures of provocation that could spark an armed conflict. Very likely, it’s an act of aggression as China has it, almost close to a declaration of war. But it is just an exaggeration on China’s part, or perhaps an excuse for it to justify war in case that is what it intends to have. Because far from how the Chinese government views these things, EDCA and the Balikatan Exercises are never meant to stage offensive moves.
This is what President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the high-ranking officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are emphasizing. EDCA and the Balikatan Exercises are for defense purposes, not for offensive advances. Never will they be used to initiate aggressive actions against China or any other country. If ever they will be mobilized for war ends, it is because enemies had attacked first, and they are just activated in response.
With this arrangement, no country including China should complain against the existence of EDCA and the Balikatan. It should only react militarily if it has plans to initiate war, or is intending to attack clandestinely any time from now. That China is reacting only shows that it has ill intentions, and since these are obstructive to its plans, this country is then protesting and complaining when in fact, it is their threats for aggression that are prompting these preparations to be in place.
Why, then, if you are threatening a neighbor and that neighbor prepares for any untoward actions, will you lament against that preparation? What kind of mentality is it? If you don’t like the gesture, why not stop from threatening that neighbor? That’s the logic there.