Friday, December 14, 2012

China Daily tags Manila as ‘trouble-maker’

From the Manila Standard Today (Dec 14): China Daily tags Manila as ‘trouble-maker’

A state-owned news agency in China on Thursday accused the Philippines for being a “trouble-maker” ever since the tension started in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea in April. In a commentary, China Daily criticized Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario who this week told the Financial Times that the government would “welcome” the re-arming of Japan because it would serve as a “counterbalance” to China’s growing aggression in the West Philippine Sea. “It is pathetic that to provoke China the foreign secretary of the Philippines has not hesitated to help Japan revive the dying ember of militarism,” China Daily wrote. “Del Rosario’s remarks only play into the hands of Japanese right-wingers who have been clamoring to break the limits of the country’s pacifist constitution,” it added.

The website, which is considered as the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party, said the Philippines has been “jabbing a finger at China time and again”. In the same commentary, the news agency reminded the Philippine government of the painful memories of Japan’s military occupation during World War II. “For Asian countries victimized by Japanese aggression in World War II, normal ties with Japan are possible only under the condition that the country sticks to a pacifist road. Del Rosario’s rhetoric has touched the bottom line of peace and order in Asia,” it said.

It added that ever since the Philippines “unilaterally” raised tensions over its disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) in April, Manila has “dutifully played the role of a troublemaker” in the region. “While coveting territorial waters it is not entitled to, it has played one trick after another seeking confrontation with China. Its politicians have developed a penchant of talking tough on China, as if wild talk will make the country’s daydreaming come true,” it added. The news agency added that Del Rosario’s remarks laid bare Manila’s attempt to enlist support for its dispute with China.

“As a smaller country, it has resorted to opportunism to balance the big powers. However, if it goes too far, it will have to shoulder the consequences,” it said. “History shows us small countries tend to get the worse of it if they seek to hijack regional peace and stability as a bargaining chip,” it added. It argued that if Manila would insists on playing more “tricks,” “sooner or later it will have to pay a dear price and lose its own credibility in the region”. It said that the Philippines was “deceiving itself and miscalculating the situation” believing that it could get support from big countries like the United States and Japan. “And it is apparently underestimating China’s resolve to defend its sovereignty and core interests,” it added.

Meanwhile, an expert from Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta expressed fears of a possible armed conflict in the disputed territories if Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea is not implemented. Rizal Sukma, executive director of CSIS said that China continuously insists during the summit last November that the discussion on the Code of Conduct could only take place “when the time is ripe”. “Indeed, the absence of significant progress on the CoC has again raised international and regional concerns about peace and stability in the region,” he said. He said that during the Association of the Southeast Asian Nation Summit in Phnom Penh last November, there were no such agreement between China and ASEAN on when COC talks would officially proceed. “Such concerns are not groundless. Recent developments in the South China Sea point to a growing risk of misperceptions and miscalculations, which could in turn increase the potential for new tensions among claimant states and other regional stakeholders,” he said.

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