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islander

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Will Manila protest military planes?
« on: April 20, 2018, 11:24:20 PM »

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Will Manila protest military planes?

Jarius Bondoc
(The Philippine Star)
April 20, 2018

In landing air force transport planes on Panganiban Reef, Beijing lied to the world about not militarizing its artificial islands in the South China Sea. It reneged on promises to Manila of non-provocative acts. The region is watching what the Duterte administration will do.

Two Chinese military aircraft were photographed on the landing strip on Panganiban, internationally known as Mischief Reef. Parked meters apart, the planes apparently arrived together early this year. Panganiban is within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone, and 600 miles from China.

Diplomatic protest is in order, experts say. Asked by reporters, Foreign Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano avoided talking of such action. He said he has yet to verify the photos, published by the Inquirer Wednesday. He supposedly does not know if the photos, dated Jan. 6, 2018, came from the Philippine military.

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islander

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Re: Will Manila protest military planes?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2018, 11:26:24 PM »

Critics say the Duterte administration is soft on Chinese incursions in Philippine maritime jurisdictions. The foreign office has been silent on China’s erection of missile pads on the fake islands, and recent installing of signal jammers against sea and aircraft. It claims to hold Beijing to its vow to not concrete any more reefs and shoals into fortresses. Beijing does not need to build more since it already has seven, all within the Philippine EEZ and continental shelf.

Manila has not followed up on its arbitral win against Beijing in July 2016. A UN court has rubbished Beijing’s bogus historical claim to the entire South China Sea. Yet Manila alibis that to press its legal victory would mean unwinnable war. Preferring economic tact, Manila is banking on Beijing’s loans to its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure plan, mainly for transportation. Yet no transport facility has been built. Recently at the Boao Forum in China’s Hainan province, Philippine officials heralded the first ever big loan – for irrigation. (Boao in recent Philippine history is where a President went, leaving the bedside of a critically ill spouse, to receive what witnesses swore at the Senate as “appearance fee” of $10 million (P500 million) for the $329 million overpriced NBN-ZTE deal.)

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islander

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Re: Will Manila protest military planes?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 11:27:49 PM »

Of the militarization of Panganiban Reef and Manila’s arbitral win, former national security adviser Jose Almonte said: “They’ve been constructing for years; they’ve been there since early ‘90s. War does not have to be an option. China, who wants to be a superpower, is sensitive to world opinion. We should continue to uphold the arbitral decision. We can’t enforce it because we have no armed might. Even the UN can’t implement it. And America will not implement it even if they can. So we should campaign for world opinion.”

The military aircraft landing is another step in China’s operations, said Dr. Jay Batongbacal, director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea. “They started with cargo planes. We should watch out for fighter jets or bombers next. If this happens, it means they are expanding their operations in their bases. Eventually this will be more frequent until it becomes permanent.” Collin Koh, a research fellow at Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies, was quoted as saying, “Should Manila choose to be silent and downplay the issue, it could become routinized or normalized operations for China...There must be certain calculations within the Chinese political elite circles that Manila is in Beijing’s pocket, because of President Duterte’s desire for rapprochement and quest for Chinese aid and investments, which thus conclude that they could possibly get away with further acts of militarization.”

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Re: Will Manila protest military planes?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2018, 11:28:11 PM »

While running for president, Rodrigo Duterte promised to assert Philippine sovereignty, even picturing himself riding a jet ski by his lonesome to plant the Philippine flag on the Chinese-occupied reefs. Two months ago he said it was just a joke. He followed up with another supposed joke to the Chinese ambassador to make the Philippines a province of China.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2018/04/20/1807582/will-manila-protest-military-planes#VlQufrfrmosFqfq8.99

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