China may start a war with the Philippines

From: larry.r.trout

'A Chinese military newspaper has warned that the country's armed forces will not allow anyone to challenge China's sovereignty of a tiny island outcrop in the South China Sea.

China and the Philippines have been involved in a tense standoff since April 10 when the Philippines Navy accused Chinese boats of fishing illegally in waters off the Scarborough Shoal, some 130 miles (200 kilometers) from the Philippines island of Luzon.

They attempted to arrest the crew but were blocked by Chinese surveillance vessels deployed in the area.

Both countries claim the shoal, which China calls Huangyan Island. Analysts believe the area is rich in mineral resources, natural gas and oil.'


'China warned its nationals against traveling to the Philippines, canceled tours and raised trade barriers on imported pineapples and bananas as the squabble over disputed fishing grounds in the South China Sea grew more intense.

At issue is a triangular-shaped cluster of reefs known as Scarborough Shoal about 130 miles from the Philippines' Subic Bay. The Chinese call it Huangyan Island and complain that the Philippine navy has been harassing its fishing boats there.

In keeping with the prevailing jingoism, a Chinese journalist on Thursday posted a photograph of himself planting a Chinese flag on an outcropping of rock. An enthusiastic microblogger promised, "We'll plant the flag all the way to Manila.''

"We want to say that anyone's attempt to take away China's sovereignty over Huangyan Island will not be allowed by the Chinese government, people and armed forces," warned the PLA Daily, the newspaper of the People's Liberation Army in an article Wednesday entitled, "Don't Attempt to Take Away Half an Inch of China's Territory."

Filipino activists have planned demonstrations Friday at Chinese embassies. As a result, Beijing issued a warning for Chinese citizens in Manila to stay indoors. In Beijing, Filipinos residing in China got a similar advisory from their embassy.'


'The embassy also discouraged Chinese nationals from going out today (Friday).

"In case of demonstrations, take a detour; do not join the crowd," the advisory said.

It also asked its citizens to maintain a "low profile to avoid a dispute with the locals."

The advisory was released on Monday after tensions in the South China Sea, particularly the ongoing standoff in Scarborough Shoal, intensified following the warning of the Chinese government, based on Chinese state media report, that it is ready to "respond to anything the Philippine side does to escalate the situation."

On Monday, China's Vice-Foreign Minister Fu Ying summoned Alex Chua, charge d'affaires of the Philippine embassy in China "to make a serious representation" over the tension in Scarborough Shoal.

The Akbayan party-list group, which is leading the mass actions, said it expects tens of thousands in the "global day of action" against China today. Organizers said the rallies will be held simultaneously in the country as well as in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Houston in the United States; as well as in Rome, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore.'


'China's Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said Tuesday that Beijing is ready for "any escalation" in the tense naval standoff with the Philippines in the South China Sea. Beijing's bellicose rhetoric worries Manila, by any measure no match for China. Faced with the prospect of the Chinese bullying them in bilateral talks, or even open conflict, Filipinos may be thinking back fondly to the days when massive U.S. naval and air bases guaranteed them security seemingly in perpetuity.

The political debate over whether to renew the nearly century-old leases was pitched in nationalist terms. In September 1991, the Philippine Senate voted 12-11 against, forcing the U.S. to abandon Clark Air Base north of Manila and Subic Bay, across the Zambales Mountains to the northwest on the South China Sea. They were two of the largest U.S. bases in the world, from which Washington staged operations from Vietnam to the Middle East.

Jovito Salonga, then Philippine Senate president, recounted his anti-bases crusade in a book entitled "The Senate That Said No." Juan Ponce Enrile, a senator who helped oust dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, joined the anti-base forces after having worked with U.S. military leaders for years as defense secretary.

Now the question of a revived U.S. role in the country's defense is back on the table. The senators who said no have mostly retired or passed on. Mr. Salonga, now in his 90s, is notably silent.'


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