US and China are both bullies seeking control of South China Sea

Communist Party of the Philippines

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns both the US and Chinese governments for acting like bullies in their effort to fortify their military foothold in the South China Sea to the detriment of the Filipino people’s sovereignty claims over the islands and land formations and territorial waters within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

The CPP denounces both the Chinese and US governments for carrying out maneuvers and counter-maneuvers last 29 March while a Philippine boat delivered supplies to the Philippine outpost ship BRP Sierra Madre which has been stationed at the Ayungin Shoal since 1999. The CPP denounces both the Chinese Coast Guard for attempting to prevent the Philippine supply boat from reaching the Ayungin shoal and the US military for carrying out fly-bys to project and assert its power and control of the area.

The CPP further denounces the Aquino regime for playing to the US hegemonist plan to establish its permanent presence in the South China Sea by invoking US military support, seeking increased US military financing and protection. The fly-by of US jets over the Ayungin shoals last March 29 was carried out with the permission of the Philippine armed forces, although AFP officials feigned ignorance. Malacañang also pretended to be unaware of the US fly-bys when it declared that the Philippine supply boat just “somehow managed” to reach the outpost ship despite the presence of the Chinese Coast Guard ship.

The CPP has long supported the demand of the Filipino people to assert Philippine sovereignty over the small islands and land formations in the South China Sea within the country’s 200-mile economic zone. It has long called for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts through diplomatic negotiations and international arbitration.

The Aquino regime seems to act in favor of a peaceful resolution by filing a case supporting the Philippine claim before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas (ITLOS). However, it did so only after years of war-mongering, which heightened tensions with China.

Since 2011, Aquino has kept the tensions high in the South China Sea by allowing the US military to station its warships in the area and invoking protection under the Military Defense Treaty. Aquino would allow the US to sail its warships and fly its fighter plans in the area to project US imperial power in order to provoke China to make counter-aggressive power projection naval and aerial maneuvers.

The US imperialists have long been the biggest violators of Philippine sovereignty. Its historical record of aggression and colonization of the Philippines is incomparable to that of China, which has never deployed its militaries in the Philippines, prior to sailing its coast guard boats in Philippine territorial waters.

Over the past several years, the US has further entrenched itself in the Philippines. It has further strengthened its foothold by maintaining a permanent military presence in the Philippines. It keeps a 700-strong contingent of combat troops stationed in Zamboanga City. Since 2011, it has docked its naval warships, submarines and aircraft carriers several times a week in Philippine ports. US jetfighters, Ospreys, drones and other aerial vessels are permanently stationed in various parts of the country.

At any given time, there are thousands of US troops stationed in the Philippines who sail within Philippine territorial waters and fly within Philippine airspace anytime to advance US hegemonist strategies. The US and Aquino governments seek to further strengthen the foothold of the US military in the Philippines with the planned Agreement for Enhanced Defense Cooperation (EDC).

The CPP contends that further strengthening the US’ military foothold in the Philippines does not help the Philippine cause to advance sovereign claims over the South China Sea islands, formations and territorial waters. Heightening US military presence, in fact, counters the Philippines’ efforts to strengthen its sovereignty claims as it puts the Philippines under the dominance of the US military.

In asserting Philippine claims while invoking US military support, the Aquino regime is actually seeking to become a protectorate of the US government, subjecting the entire country, including the international trade routes in the South China Sea, to US control. To be “protected” by a bigger bully who claims to be a friend to fend off another bully is to forever be under the sway of that bigger bully.

The claims to benevolence and friendship of the colonial and later neocolonial US forces are among the biggest hoaxes imposed upon the Filipino people. We must decisively disabuse ourselves of that hoax.