Fill Ams Blast China’s Provocation

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – They may not have the numbers but some gritty members of the Filipino American community across the United States have continued to shine a bright light Wednesday (July 24) on China to give up some islands within the Philippine territory in Philippine Western Sea (South China) it had invaded and prove her claim before the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal (UNAT) it has continuously ignored.

Chicago, Illinois-area community newspaper publisher Yoly Tubalinal, a leader of the U.S. Pinoys For Good Governance (USP4GG) in Chicago area, denounced China before its consulate in Chicago, which asserts its “indisputable sovereignty” over one million square miles of Philippine Western Sea (China Sea).

Meanwhile, Vietnam Americans have expressed solidarity with members and supporters of USP4GG, who were also rallying before the China Embassy in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, according to Eric Lachica, USP4GG leader in Washington, D.C.

Lachica quoted Mr. Trinh Nguyen-Mau, co-chair of the Vietnamese Community of DC-Maryland-Virginia, as saying that China should recognize the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of Vietnam on the map with the Philippine Western Sea (South China) recognized by the United Nations Convention of Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

The rallies Wednesday in the U.S. and in the Philippines coincided with the one-year anniversary when China created the Sansha prefecture “to oversee and administer” one million square miles of the China Sea based on the “Nine-Dash-Line” map that was originally promulgated as the “Eleven-Dash-Line” map drawn by the Kuomintang in 1947 and modified by the Communists in 1949.

The rallies also ushered in the global day of prayer on Aug. 21 next month when USP4GG will continue to press China thru prayer into coming to the negotiating table before the UNAT in Hamburg, Germany.

Aside from Ms. Tubalinal, the other community leaders, who joined the rally, were Skokie Commissioner Jelly Carandang, Thelma Fuentes, R.N., and acting human rights advocate and community organizer Grace Villamora. Villamora believes “China’s aggression is going to be around for a long haul but we will need to keep the pressure up, so China will give up its imperialist’s designs.”

SIMILAR RALLIES HELD IN NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO

Similar rallies were held in New York led by Filipino American Atty. Loida N. Lewis and in San Francisco led by Atty. Rodel Rodis, co-leaders of USP4GG.

In October 2012, Beijing vested Sansha with the police authority, effective January 1, 2013, “to board, seize and expel foreign ships” within a vast jurisdiction that encompasses islands and reefs in the West Philippine Sea.

Since Sansha’s formation, China has increased its provocative moves against the Philippines, including the occupation of the Scarborough Shoal (115 miles from Zambales province) by up to 90 Chinese ships, which barred Filipino fishers from their ancestral fishing grounds, and an increased Chinese military presence at Ayungin Reef (105 miles from Palawan province).

This “salami slicing” of Philippine territory was described by Major General Zhang Zhaozhong on Beijing TV as part of China’s “cabbage strategy,” the thrust of which is to surround Philippine territories with a massive Chinese naval presence to starve Filipino detachments and prevent reinforcements from reaching them.

China insists that according to its “Nine-Dash-Line” map, it is the Philippines which is “illegally occupying” the Ayungin Reef, considered the gateway to the Recto Bank, located just 85 miles from Palawan, which the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) believes may contain as much as 213 billion barrels of oil and 2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas.

China asserts that the Philippines is not entitled to its 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) boundaries under UNCLOS because, in China’s view, the boundaries of all countries extend just 12 nautical miles from their coasts.

If allowed to stand, China’s “Nine-Dash-Line” claim will go down as the most brazen maritime territorial grab in history, according to USP4GG statement.

In contrast to China, which is threatening to use force to enforce its claims, the Philippines has advocated working within a multilateral framework, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations, to resolve territorial disagreements.

On January 22, 2013, the Philippines brought its complaint over China’s illegal occupation of its Scarborough Shoal to the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal (UNAT), which began its formal hearing on the Philippine petition on July 11.

Unfortunately, China has ignored the UN petition and declares that only bilateral talks can resolve its territorial disputes, a format where it can easily bamboozle its weaker neighbors. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

Photocaptions:

YOUNGEST RALLYIST JOINS RALLY:

Chicago, Illinois Fil Am Megascene community organizer Yoly Tubalinal (extreme left, second row) of the U.S. Pinoys For Good Government cuddles her first grandson (apo), less than a year-old, Quincy, when nobody could babyset him at home during the rally of Filipino Americans before the China consulate (right) Wednesday (July 24). “Quincy is the youngest rallyist,” Ms. Tubalinal took prid of her apo. Others in photo are Skokie, Illinois Commissioner Jelly Carandang (extreme left, backrow), Thelma Fuentes (to Yoly’s left), R.N., and Ms. Grace Villamora (second from right, front row). The rallyists screamed “China goods are no good” as they urged China to stop the aggression in Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea) and face the Philippines before the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal in Hamburg, Germany to settle the maritime dispute with her neighbors. The same group will hold a global prayer rally on Aug. 21, 2013. (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

VIETNAM ALLY:

Mr. Trinh Nguyen (extreme right, front row) points out the 200-mile exclusive economic zones of Vietnam on the map of Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea) being recognized by the United Nation’s Convention of the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) during the rally Wednesday, July 24, before the China Embassy in Washington, D.C. The map is being held by Filipino World War II veteran Celestino Almeda, 96, while other members of the U.S. Pinoys For Good Government look on. The same group is going to hold a global prayer rally on Aug. 21, 2013. To the extreme left of the map is the Vietnam flag.  (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Eric Lachica)

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