Representative Roilo Golez on Sunday ruled out an immediate US aid to the Philippines in a shooting war with China over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
“There is no assurance the United States would help. It would depend on their perception of national interest. But for sure they will exert diplomatic efforts to ease tensions,” said the vice chairman of the House committee on national defense and security.
The Parañaque City lawmaker shrugged off as “premature and speculative” talk of a shooting war over the Spratly islands in the region Manila calls West Philippine Sea. The Spratlys are being claimed by four other countries—Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
‘World is watching’
“The last time it happened in the Spratlys was in 1988 between Chinese and Vietnamese navy units. Now, the world is watching this standoff and China will avoid being branded an irresponsible bully,” said Golez, a graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.
Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said that any US decision to step into the conflict between Manila and Beijing would depend largely on Washington’s interests considering its economic and diplomatic ties with China, the world’s second largest economy.
“The US always acts in its self-interest,” said the leftist politician. “If it intervenes, it will only escalate the tension, and worse, we could end up ousting one bully only to be replaced by another bully, the US. This is dangerous as it is most likely that the two bullies will eventually come to a mutually beneficial agreement with us being left out,” he said.
“This is what happened between the US and Spain before and the US has more economic interest in China than in the Philippines,” said Colmenares.
He reckoned that China could “launch limited shooting war in the Scarborough Shoal if only to test our determination to defend our territory” as it had done in bloody attacks in the Paracels in 1974 and in 2005 that killed Vietnamese soldiers and fishermen.
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) on Sunday expressed support of President Benigno Aquino III’s moves to bring the dispute with China to international arbitration.
NPC spokesperson and Valenzuela City Representative Rex Gatchalian said: “It is but proper to internationalize the issue so as to remind China … that we are living in a period of time when conflicts and disagreements between sovereign nations are resolved by applicable international laws and doctrines.”
Former Pangasinan Representative mark Cojuangco, also of NPC, said China’s bullying tactics were driven by its desire to control the mineral and oil deposits in waters within the country’s borders.
“I support President Aquino’s strong stand in protecting our sovereignty and one of the best ways of doing it is by seeking the appropriate advice and opinion of other friendly countries like the United States. The Chinese could be violating international laws in as much as their stance is preventing us from enforcing our laws within our exclusive economic zone,” Cojuangco said.
Tags: Bajo de Masinloc , Benigno Aquino III , China , Congress , Defense , Foreign affairs , Government , International relations , Maritime Dispute , Military , Philippines , Politics , Roilo Golez , Scarborough Shoal , Security , Spratlys , US
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