Wednesday, April 03, 2013

'US won't go too far in backing PH, Japan in sea dispute'

The United States is likely to “press the brake” if tension involving the Philippines and Japan with China comes to a tipping point, limiting assurance and support to its treaty allies, a senior Chinese scholar said last Monday.

Ruan Zongze, vice president and senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), said the US is not expected to go too far in its support to the Philippines and Japan, as he emphasized that China will not engage in international arbitration initiated by Manila.

CIIS is the think tank of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It conducts research and analysis on a wide range of foreign policy issues.

Ruan, invited by the Chinese embassy in Manila to give a briefing to the media, said the Philippines is consistently pushing its own agenda to take advantage of the US rebalance in Asia, being its treaty ally.

“I assume the Philippine side sees that this might be the opportunity to assert the sovereignty claim over Panatag Shoal (Huangyan). Because you are a treaty ally of the Americans so they will support you. But China and US relationship is pretty solid and robust,” Ruan told reporters at the embassy.

“This tension must be managed under certain circumstances, but at the same time, if the tension comes to a tipping point, the Americans will press the brake. They are not going too far. Even our bigger dispute with Japan, will Americans really fight for Japanese over the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands? I don’t believe so,” he said.

Ruan said the US will assure its treaty allies of support but the assurance is “limited.”

He said China will be a very constructive player in the international community but “we will not engage in international arbitration.”

China’s decision not to participate in the arbitration process is Beijing’s choice and right, according to Ruan.

He said China viewed the Philippines’ action bringing the issue to international arbitration as a unilateral action to escalate the tension.

“That is another escalation of tension because let me put it this way, nobody can really address the sovereignty issue, even the United Nations arbitration,” he said, adding that patience is needed in resolving the issue through negotiation.

Squatting strategy

Meanwhile, former Western Command (Wescom) commander, retired Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, on Monday called for sustained pro-active actions in addressing China’s “squatting” technique, if only to establish their permanent presence within the country’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.-ABS-CBN News (April 03, 2013)

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