PH Response To China: Let U.S. Build Bases In South China Sea

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (JGL) – California was the site of the peace treaty at the end World War II – the Treaty of San Francisco, Peace Treaty with Japan.

Perhaps, California could also be the site where Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, can mop up plans on how to counter the aggressive moves of their giant neighbor, China, from bullying them. The other members of Asean are Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (Burma).

I am not saying that Los Angeles, the site of the Asean Summit between Feb. 15 and 17 next month called by President Obama, will be the place where the Asean leaders will lay down a Quebec-like Agreement, which caused the United States, with the consent of the United Kingdom, to drop nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 to end World War II.

But what I’m saying is that some military matters can be discussed during the upcoming Summit because they could not have been possibly be taken up during the last Asian Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) Summit of 21 countries in Manila last November although China was building military facilities in islands in South China Sea (Pacific Western Sea) while the APEC Summit was in progress. It was like a scene in the Godfather movie where Al Pacino (Michael Corleone) stands at the altar as the child’s godfather, while Corleone assassins murder the other New York dons and Moe Greene.

But if military matters will be taken off the table during the Summit, President Obama and Asean leaders can discuss “Plan A or Plan B” that would try to anticipate or modify the aggressive behavior of China in case China loses by default in the Arbitral case filed by the Philippines against China at The Hague during the Summer.

And one such option to counter China for pushing the tiny nations against the wall and to say, “enough is enough,” is “Plan B” as in boycott of Chinese products if China ignores The Hague decision.


The Asean nations could put up a united front to stop China’s aggression by telling China they are no longer buying products from China but would instead be importing products from other parts of the world. This should certainly send chills on the economic spine of the Asian giant.

The boycott will add insult to injury because Chinese economy is now reeling.

Iran’s economic meltdown must still be very fresh in the minds of China when Iran finally acceded to cut back its nuclear activity and allay concerns it was trying to build nuclear weapons in exchange of the lifting of economic embargo after an agreement with the United States and five other countries, including China.

China drumbeaters may dismiss the boycott threat like they dismissed the boycott call by Filipino American leader Loida Nicolas Lewis but not when it is called by a government leader, let alone, Asean leaders. Chinese hawkish military will certainly need raw materials from other countries if they want to keep its military might. Japan experienced this isolation during World War II when it ran out of raw materials before the atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And even if the atomic bombs were not dropped, Japan would have just surrendered as well for lack of resources.

The Summiteers could also discuss Plan A, the revival of cold-war era SEATO – the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization, an international alliance for collective defense of Southeast Asia created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty or Manila Pact, signed in September 1954 in Manila, that was originally formed to contain the communist powers of China.


Its member countries included Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, including East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Seato, however, was dissolved when most of the member nations contributed very little to the alliance. While Seato military forces held joint military training, their trainings were never put to work as a result of internal disagreements. Seato was unable to intervene in conflicts in Laos because France and Britain rejected use of military force. This caused the U.S. to provide unilateral support for Laos after 1962. Although, US sought the support of Seato in Vietnam War, the request for support was denied because of lack of cooperation by British and France, the former colonial ruler of Vietnam.

With the Philippine Supreme Court giving the green light to give U.S. access to establish humanitarian and defensive facilities in the Philippines under EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement), I suggest the U.S. military set up its facilities in some of the territories in the Philippines Western Sea (South China Sea) claimed by the Philippines to counter, if not neutralize, the encroaching moves of China, which has been unilaterally building airports in the disputed territories claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and other Asian neighbors.

If the Asean countries will be able to unite and stop China from violating the DoC (2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea), then, the peace in Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea) will become a shining legacy of both Presidents Obama and Aquino, who will both be leaving office one after the other this year. The DoC was intended to freeze the status quo and encourage cooperative confident-building measures among the disputants but China keeps on violating it by aggressively building military facilities and infrastructure reducing it into a non-binding agreement.


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