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WASHINGTON – The Philippine navy is to deploy warships to one of the Spratley Islands called Pag-Asa, which is one of the major points of contention between the Philippines and China over China’s assertion of ownership of all the islands, shoals and underwater maritime resources of the South China Sea, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The ships are to warn the Chinese to leave their area in which the Philippines are determined to defend what they assert is their territory, even though their military is no match for what the Chinese could bring to the confrontation
As WND/G2Bulletin recently pointed out, China has been showing an increasingly assertive posture in pressing its claims over the South China Sea, which is rich in resources especially oil, with other nations which similarly make claims in the region.
Those countries with competing claims to those of China include the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
There are some 200 islets, sandbanks and reefs to which China has laid claim in the region. All are in dispute. Now, China is in the process of setting up local governments to rule over each of the 200 disputed claims. These local governmental entities will be under the control of the Chinese military.
China has often stated that it wants to work with these countries on a bilateral basis, but such talks have gotten nowhere and the smaller countries instead have pursued a multilateral approach, again with no success.
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has blocked any attempt to raise the issue of conflicting claims before it.
For that reason, the small nations have asked the United States to increase its presence in the area, which it has. The result has only raised tensions even more, according to regional analysts.
China is particularly concerned with U.S. involvement in what it considers a regional dispute and has tried to warn it off. Beijing recently accused the U.S. of pursuing a policy of encirclement of China that could lead to a conflict.
Beijing also has criticized such countries as the Philippines and Vietnam for seeking military assistance from the U.S., which China says the U.S. “can’t afford to provide.”
Given China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, analysts say that Beijing needs to proceed with some caution. Otherwise, China will drive its neighbors more toward siding with Washington.
Washington, however, didn’t quite expect these smaller countries to undertake actions that now appear to be offering a confrontation with China, which the United States does not want.
These analysts say that Beijing is changing its tact somewhat by softening its diplomatic line while deploying military assets, suggesting a carrot-and-stick approach.
Nevertheless, the Philippines in particular has taken the initiative to move military assets to protect its claims, raising the potential of bringing the United States into the fray.
Curiously, however, the countries which are neighbors to China have deep cultural and historical ties with China and if the regional states are forced to take sides in any Cold War conflict between China and the U.S., some analysts believe the U.S. will be left in the lurch to go it alone against Beijing.
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