CHICAGO (JGL) – A group of Filipino Americans led by Loida Nicolas Lewis is circulating a petition, asking President Noynoy Aquino to reconsider the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed last Oct. 24, 2014 by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima to join the People’s Republic of China in establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
In a letter dated May 18, 2015 addressed to President Benigno S. Aquino III and signed by numerous individuals belonging to various organizations in the U.S. as well as in Australia, and Switzerland, the petitioners said they were “very disturbed and dismayed” by the MOA in the wake of China’s aggressive reclamation of eight artificially made islands within the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The petitioners questioned the government’s partnership with China stating that “China is shamefully defiantly grabbing what does not belong to her.” In addition, they said, “The Tribunal of the United Nations will decide by next year the case the Philippines filed a year and a half ago as to which country has the right to exploit the territory in the West Philippine Sea – Philippines or China.”
However, the petitioners argued that “China refused to recognize the jurisdiction of UNCLOS Tribunal because in front of the court, China and the Philippines become equal in law. That is not acceptable to China because she is vastly superior in military strength and hardware.”
They said that by China’s refusal to subject itself to the UN Tribunal’s jurisdiction, China will most likely “defiantly ignore” UNCLOS tribunal decision in favor of the Philippines. They also claimed that “China knows that possession is 99% of the law”.
“That explains,” they said, “the rush of China to reclaim the land in the West Philippine Sea” and that China knows the “United Nations is powerless to execute its judgment against China.”
“The Republic of the Philippines is one country, and we cannot separate financial gain from territorial integrity,” the petitioners said in their letter and enjoined the President to “show the world that we stand for the rule of law, that we are a nation of principles.”
Aside from the Philippines, other countries having overlapping claims to Western Philippine Sea (South China Sea) had also signed up as Prospective Founding Members (PFM) of AIIB.
US, JAPAN CANADA HEDGING TO JOIN AIIB
More than 20 countries have participated in the discussions, including China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philioppines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Kazakhstand, Kuwait, Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. They signed up on the MOA during a ceremony in Beijing on October 24, 2014, four months after China proposed the doubling of the registered capital of the AIIB from $50-Billion to $100-Billion.
As of April 15, 2015, most major countries outside Asia had joined the AIIB, except the US, Japan (which dominated the ADB) and Canada. North Korea’s and Taiwan’s applications for Prospective Founding Member (PFM) were rejected.
China and other countries are scheduled to sign the creation of AIIB in June.
Meanwhile, according to a Manila Standard Today report, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said Wednesday, May 20, that “he will submit a recommendation to President Benigno Aquino III before the end of the month on whether the Philippines should join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or not.”
The report added that Purisima said, “[we] are still on the stage that we don’t have to commit. When you look at the emerging governance provisions, it makes a lot of governance features of other multilaterals.
It was at Boao Forum for Asia in 2013 when Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned his initiatives called the Silk Road and the AIIB that will include “China’s friends and partners.” These were likened to Mao Tse Tung’s 1949’s statement of “setting up a different kitchen” in reference to Kuomintang, which now refers to the United States.
In his visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia in 2013, President Xi unveiled the new Silk Road, which will be an extensive network of communication and transport infrastructure, both new and renovated, to improve connectivity between China, the rest of Eurasia and Africa, including the Indian Ocean region. This region has 4.4-billion people, consisting of 63 percent of the global population and with a combined GDP of $21 trillion. Part of the initiative is the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, which connects Chinese ports with Europe, passing through the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean before reaching the Mediterranean Sea but would avoid the Strait of Malacca by setting out from ports in the Indian Ocean.
The AIIB is supposed to provide financial assistance to infrastructure projects in the Asian region. It is considered a rival of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
The United Nations described AIIB as “scaling up financing for sustainable development for the concern of Global Economic Governance.”