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Home Sections Politics Fil Ams to Hold Protest Rallies v. China as U.S. Paper Urges Obama to Rally Behind PH
Fil Ams to Hold Protest Rallies v. China as U.S. Paper Urges Obama to Rally Behind PH PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Friday, 01 July 2011 13:54

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)

  

C HICAGO (jGLi) – Filipino Americans are picketing the consular offices of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) across the United States  at noon on July 8 to protest the PRC government’s scheduled oil-rig drilling activities in the Spratly Islands which the Philippines claims as its own.

 

Meanwhile, the Washington Post, in an editorial, urged President Barack Obama to be “ready to cooperate” with the Philippine government’s “wishes to shift its long-standing defense cooperation with the United States from counterterrorism to the patrol and defense of its territorial waters.”

 

The U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), a national organization led by lawyers Loida Nicolas Lewis and Rodel Rodis, is urging Filipino American business, political and community leaders to join the picketing in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco before Chinese consulates.

 

According to a press release circulated by Eric Lachica, the public demonstrations on July 8 seek to “expose China's (unilateral) abrogation of its pledge to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to resolve sovereignty disputes peacefully through negotiations.”

 

In March 2010, China unilaterally declared the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) as a “core national interest” similar to its claims over Tibet and Taiwan and is, therefore, “non-negotiable.”

 

CHINA’S SOLDIERS FAR EXCEED ASEAN’S

 

C hina has 2.17 million soldiers, which is more numerous that the combined military personnel of all the ASEAN countries. With its superior military might, China is on course to go ahead with its billion-dollar oil rig construction this July at 125 miles from Palawan, which is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

 

Last May 27, 2011, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) conveyed its concern to the PRC government over reports in its state media about Beijing’s planned installation of its most advanced oil rig in the West Philippine Sea this July.

 

According to a Xinhua report, the “CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corp) plans to invest 200 billion yuan (US$30 billion) and to drill 800 deepwater wells, which expect an output of 500 million barrels of oil by the year 2020. Earning estimates from this venture is pegged at US$50-billion per year.

 

An undetermined number of structures were recently constructed by China in the Philippine-claimed Iroquois Reef – Amy Douglas Bank near Palawan, according to DFA quoting military sources. This area is southwest of Recto or Reed Bank and east of Patag or Flat Island well “within the Philippines’ 200 nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

 

In an editorial on June 26, the Post said when Philippine Foreign-Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was in Washington last week, Mr. Del Rosario was seeking U.S. support “in his country’s growing territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.”

 

PENTAGON SHOULD BE READY TO COOPERATE

 

S ecretary Del Rosario was seeking a “clarification” of the mutual defense treaty between the Philippines and the United States; he would like a U.S. statement suggesting it applies to a gas-rich seabed the Philippines and China are contesting. His government also would like help in beefing up its navy, perhaps through the lease of patrol boats.

 

The editorial said, "(t)hese are tricky requests for the Obama administration, which has been trying to avoid taking sides in the increasingly dangerous clashes between China and its neighbors over a huge and vital Asian waterway that Beijing — in apparent contravention of international law — claims entirely for itself. China would like the United States to stay out of its disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, so that it can deal with each of those weaker countries in turn. “I believe the individual countries are actually playing with fire,” (China’s) Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said Wednesday, “and I hope the fire will not be drawn to the United States.”

 

The Post concluded, “Such rhetoric ought to be coupled with initiatives. Ms. (Sec. Hillary) Clinton has suggested the United States could play a role in fostering multilateral discussions on the South China Sea; Washington should press China to formalize a “code of conduct” with Southeast Asian nations for handling territorial disputes. Notwithstanding its neutrality on territorial disputes, the Obama administration could point out the ways in which China’s claims objectively are at odds with United Nations conventions. And if Mr. Del Rosario’s government wishes to shift its long-standing defense cooperation with the United

States from counterterrorism to the patrol and defense of its territorial waters, the Pentagon should be ready to cooperate.” # # #

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)



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