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'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row
« on: June 29, 2014, 12:50:01 PM »
Ex-US admiral: 'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row

By Camille Diola (philstar.com)
June 27, 2014



dennis-blair-us-pacific-command - 'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row - Talk of the Town
Dennis Blair, then United States Director of National Intelligence, speaks at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia in November 2009. WACPhiladelphia


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has to stand up to China's gray-zone challenges in the hotly contested South China Sea, instead of only reacting to its behavior.

Dennis Blair, retired chief of the United States Pacific Command and former Director of National Intelligence, said the Philippines, Japan and Vietnam "can't just sit there" and watch as China encroaches in what they consider sovereign territories.

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Re: 'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2014, 12:52:56 PM »
"Of course, you need to think them through carefully, but if the Chinese want to play a game of 'I'll poke you here, and I'll poke you there,' then you have to respond and say, 'Game on." Blair said in an interview with Asahi Shimbun, a transcript of which was posted Thursday.

"Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam need to take initiatives of their own and be equally forceful in that space," the acknowledged Asia expert advised.

Blair said China will keep on forcefully asserting its claims through unilateral declarations, but will not step beyond the "upper limit" of heightening tensions to become a major conflict.

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Re: 'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2014, 12:53:37 PM »
"On the Chinese side, I think there is a similar sort of a ceiling because China knows that if a major conflict were to occur in the East China Sea or the South China Sea, the effect on China’s economic development would be terrible," Blair said.

"Below that limit, though, the Chinese are sitting around, thinking, “Now, what can I do next? Let's see, I can extend the ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone), I can declare a new fishing zone, etcetera," he added.

Neighboring countries should then take advantage of China's self-imposed limit even as it grows in power and believes it can get its way, Blair said.

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Re: 'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2014, 12:54:10 PM »
Blair, who was in the US Navy for 34 years, urged the Philippines and other claimant states to say, "Wait a minute! These are things that matter to us. These are our interests. Together we are stronger than you are."

"These are not things that we hand over to you just because your [gross domestic product] goes up 10 percent a year," Blair said.

The former admiral admitted that Beijing's increasing might has "worried" him for years knowing that it feels entitled to weaker countries' concessions in the decades-long sea row.

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Re: 'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2014, 12:54:49 PM »
He explained that China looks back at its years as a weaker nation and still remembers Japan's invasion in 1931. Now an Asian powerhouse, China is prepared to use its newfound strength to its advantage.

Still, rival claimants "cannot simply make concessions to a country as it grows in power," Blair believes.

"We have to figure out how to counter those actions," he said.

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Re: 'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2014, 12:55:29 PM »
The Philippines has taken a "rules-based approach" in dealing the escalating disputes. It has abandoned seemingly futile direct negotiations with China and resorted to filing an arbitration case before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China has rejected the third-party settlement as Manila invests on new military assets for a "minimum credible defense" amid the regional dustup.

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