From the Manila Standard Today (May 2): US rejects China’s offer over disputed islands
The United States on Friday swiftly rejected a suggestion by a top Chinese military official who said that disputed South China Sea islands could be used for international rescue and relief operations.
Beijing has been roundly criticized by the West for construction work on islands in the South China Sea, including the building of an airstrip and other structures.
The Wall Street Journal and other US news organizations, citing a report on the Chinese Defense Ministry website, said Admiral Wu Shengli made the offer to his US counterpart, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, in a video conference.
Wu said China’s reclamation work on the disputed islands “will not threaten freedom of navigation and overflight” and will enhance the capacity for weather forecasting, maritime search and rescue and other public goods, and help to protect international maritime security, The Journal said, quoting the Chinese defense ministry report.
“We welcome international organizations, the US and relevant countries to use these facilities, when conditions are ripe, to conduct cooperation on humanitarian rescue and disaster relief,” the Chinese admiral was quoted as saying.
State Department acting deputy spokesman Jeff Rathke said Washington was not interested.
Those who call for this demonization or dehumanization constantly refer to those they are at war with, or who oppose them, as inhuman, insects that must be stamped out, animals that do not even cry when their own children are murdered. As we have seen in many conflicts in the world, demonization of a particular group can quickly escalate into massacre, genocide and mass exoduses resulting in refugees desperately searching for a safe haven. Or in its flipside, as in the case of the Mamasapano incident, it was easily described as “massacre” or “murders”, because those who fought the SAF commandos are tagged as “demons”. This is the reason why such controversial descriptions of the incident as either “massacre” or “murder” were used.
This incident has been seen as a game changer or deal breaker. As a consequence of it, nobody thinks there is still life to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Many call for the total abandonment of the BBL. There is also so much loathing of the MILF, Muslims and Islam. They are pictured as lacking in any moral standards and no conscience, because they (MILF fighters) shot and killed 44 SAF commandos (who are armed to the teeth and under cover of darkness).
Surely, this is a very dangerous road to go down. But those who are angry, emotionally-charged, and filled with hatred, prejudices or biases would not care for anything.
But those who believe in peace persevered, so that today, the BBL is slowly showing life again. The demonization has allowed full discussion of the proposed law. Every side of it has been dissected and examined. Because it was on the verge of death, many came to its succor. Amongst them are those conscience-guided individuals or groups who want peace in our midst, instead of war. They see the BBL as an affirmative action in the right direction.
The truth is that by solving the so-called Moro Question or Problem is solving the Philippine problem. Silencing this raging bloody conflict in Mindanao will afford this country to concentrate on building its external defense. It is no secret that an armed bully is already in the doorstep of this country.
For those who only see doomsday in the BBL, let them enjoy their fear. They are people who always see the negative side of life; they are those who do not trust others, because they lack confidence in themselves. Most if not all of this breed are not and can never be effective leaders of men and states. They will bring us down.