Friday, July 27, 2012

UN Peacekeeping Sought in West Philippine Sea Dispute

With the disappointment on the ASEAN’s non-issuance of a joint communiqué at the 45th Asean Ministerial Meeting in Cambodia a couple of weeks ago still fresh in its midst, the Philippines continue to faced harassment and provocation from China as news reports have conveyed how Chinese vessels numbering about 20 were seen just 9 kilometers off Pagasa Island catching fish and collecting corrals in large amount.

Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon lamented how residents there were clearly witnessing how those Chinese vessels were hoarding precious corrals from a seabed near his municipality.

The Chinese vessels are coming closer and closer towards areas and locations that are clearly occupied by the Philippines such as the Pagasa Island. With tens of Chinese vessels stationing themselves at the Scarborough Shoal, China is similarly targeting the Kalayaan group of islands. If this is not provocation in its meanest sense, then we do not know what it is.
In a television press conference yesterday, President Noynoy Aquino has expressed the developing sensitivity of the Philippines stance over these matters that the possibility of armed conflict may be very imminent.

At this point, Senator Rodolfo Biazon this day had suggested that the Philippinesshould seek the assistance of the United Nation in the brimming conflict with China at the West Philippine Sea and called for arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), which the country is a signatory among 152 countries.

Unfortunately, under Unclos regulations, arbitration proceedings could not be initiated without the consent of China, and the latter had repeatedly refused to give it’s acquiesce for resolution and instead uses forceful tactics, such as sending fishing vessels with armed escorts to disputed areas like the Scarborough Shoal and the Spratlys. This is of course strategies to intimidate and harass other claiming nations, particularly the Philippines.

While the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has continued to issue diplomatic protests, these however just fell on deaf ears as China had even increased its presence over the West Philippine Sea in the past weeks. Ultimately, China is egging and inching for war and conflict.
Just a couple of weeks ago, US Senator John McCain had made comments on how China’s move to install military garrisons in Sansha and Paracel Islands – areas disputed both by China and Vietnam – as a move that is ‘extremely provocative’.

Meanwhile, Philippine troops stationed in Pagasa Island have been ordered to stand down while diplomatic channels are being maximized. 

Senator Biazon’s suggestion should sound urgent at this time yet the United Nation peacekeeping mission has to follow a long process before it becomes operational. Usually, armed conflict should occur first and a treaty to follow before the United Nation Security Council could vote as to the formation and sending of peacekeeping troops.

Senator Biazon then urged to do an eye-for-eye response to China’s move by sending fishing vessels to the area and deploying armed escorts to protect them from aggressive maneuvers from the Chinese side. The question would be as to whether we have enough armed ships to undertake this particular operation.

In a statement made by DFA Secretary Alberto del Rosario in the face of ASEAN’s failure to issue a joint communiqué on the issues appertaining in the West Philippine Sea, he had emphasized how ASEAN or even the United Nation should now intervene in the attending dispute since the free and unimpeded navigation of ships and vessels in the area is at gravely at stake where 50,000 ship travels would be affected if tensions would escalate in the coming days or months.

Clearly, as more and more Chinese vessels are deployed in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea, ASEAN should now be more resolute and the United Nation should aim at intervening in the conflict before everything becomes worst.


  1. It's unfortunate that China is going to the old ways by expanding their domain by force. I hope UN intervenes as allowing China to do this aggression would just encourage China to eat up more territories in the future.

  2. That's the main aim Franc yet it is an objective not easy to attain. International procedures can be illogical sometimes where dispute resolution over territories could not be initiated without consent of both or all parties. Why wouldn't China give consent if it believes it has the best title to the disputed islands? escapes me really...

  3. China is really a pain in the butt to Philippines .They want to get our islands one by one. Reading your post ,I was thinking of asking help to Iron man or Hulk Hogan to stop them,lol. But seriously, I hope that the UN and ASEAN do something about this dispute.

  4. They are always giving a bad image about Philippines.

  5. @ Tess: Haha..Iron Man would have been much helpful with all the weaponsry of Mr. Stark. Now, I think China is already too much, embarassment upon itself with all these stealthy moves. It has acres and acres of land, mere isalnds should be not its concern; unless for strategic positioning. Now that tells us some ill motive in the future for China, like it wants empiric hold over all Asia. We must all beware.

  6. @ Ruben : They are indeed making the West Philippine Seas a very hazardous place for navigation. And it's China to blame and non other.

  7. This is depressing. When can China and our country settle this dispute? As time goes by nagiging alarming ang situation.

  8. @ YANI : Yes, depressing could be an apt term especially when at times it becomes beyond our control, when China seems to do what it pleases. Maybe we should fight back, but we do not ahve the capability. Such a dilemma for us.

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