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  • 1. 2 PHILIPPINES-CHINA SECURITY RELATIONS Current Issues and Emerging Concerns Rommel C. Banlaoi Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR)
  • 2. 3 Philippines-China Security Relations: Current Issues and Emerging Concerns By Rommel C. Banlaoi Copyright@2012 by Rommel C. Banlaoi All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations for scholarly purposes, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recordings and/or otherwise without the prior written permission of the author. You may reach the author at rbanlaoi@pipvtr.com. Published by Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR) Quezon City, Philippines www.pipvtr.com Recommended Bibliographic Entry: Rommel C. Banlaoi, Philippines-China Security Relations: Current Issues and Emerging Concerns (Quezon City: Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, 2012).
  • 3. 4 PREFACE Since the publication of my book, Security Aspects of Philippines-China Relations: Bilateral Issues and Concerns in the Age of Global Terrorism, in 2007, my scholarly activities on the Philippines’ difficult security relations with China have not stopped. In fact, my book made my scholarly activities on Philippines-China security relations became busier and more challenging, particularly when I was elected one of the members of Governing Board of Philippines Association for China Studies (PACS) in 2010. Within a period of five years from 2007 to 2011, I felt the need of revising and updating my book to accommodate the developments that transpired during that period. Because of some technical issues associated with the revision of my 2007 book published by Rex Book Store International, I decided to just publish another book based on conference papers and opinion pieces I wrote from 2007 to 2011. This effort resulted in the publication of this book, Philippines-China Security Relations: Current Issues and Emerging Concerns. Like my 2007 book, this present book examines the security aspects of Philippines-China relations. My 2007 book discussed how the global campaign against terrorism provided various opportunities for both countries to sustain their diplomatic friendship and enhance their defense cooperation. The publication of that book coincided with the 32nd anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-China relations. Two years before that, the Philippines and China celebrated the “golden years” of their bilateral ties in 2005 on the occasion of their 30th anniversary. But the renewed security tensions in the South China Sea that started in 2007 created another difficulties for Philippines-China security relations to move forward. This present book is published to describe current and emerging challenges in Philippines-China security relations. It is based on selected papers and essays I wrote from 2007 to 2011 analyzing the security aspects of Philippines-China relations. This book is also published this year to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-China relations. Readers can consider the publication of this present book as a sequel to my 2007 book. It is my fervent hope to see this book adding value to the existing literature on Philippines-China security relations.
  • 4. 5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface 4 1. International Relations Theory in China: Evolution and Current State ……………………………………. 6 2. A Philippine Perspective on China-US-ASEAN Relations….. 14 3. Philippine Policy in the South China Sea: Implications for Philippines-China Security Relations………... 22 4. The Taiwan Factor in Philippines-China Security Relations….. 33 5. Philippine Foreign and Security Policy Towards China in the Post-9/11 World: Current Realities and…………………. 41 Future Prospects 6. Renewed Tensions and Continuing Maritime Security Dilemma in the South China Sea: Current and Emerging Concerns on Philippines-China Security Relations……………………. 53 Annexes 73 • Brief Essays on Philippines-China Security Relations and the South China Sea Disputes 73 A. West Philippines Sea: What’s in a Name?............................... 73 B. West Philippines Sea: An American Lake?............................ 75 C. PH Problematic Protest vs China Over Spratlys…………… 77 D. A Mischief Reef in the Making………………………………. 79 E. Anarchy in the South China Sea ……………………………. 81 F. Emerging Cold War in the Spratlys………………………… 83 G. Risks of War in the Spratlys…………………………………. 85 H. Clash of Sovereignties in the Spratlys……………………… 87 I. Word War in the South China Sea: A Diplomatic Crisis In Philippines-China Relations…………………………….... 90 J. PHL, China Row on Spratlys: Time for Good Manners and Right Conduct………………………….………………….. 93 K. What’s Needed: More Dialogues Among Spratly Claimants…………………………………… 95 L. Peace and Stability: Way Ahead in the Spratlys …………… 97 • List of Bilateral Agreements Between the Philippines and China 100 Postscript 109 About the Author 111
  • 5. 6 CHAPTER ONE International Relations Theory in China: Evolution and Current State Introduction In the context of China’s rise as a global power, it is imperative to study the current state of International Relations (IR) theory in China. This can give the whole world a sense on how China views itself in the global community. Understanding how it grapples with international relations at the theoretical level is also essential to grasp the state of IR scholarship in China, particularly at this juncture where China now plays a very pivotal role in shaping the current trends and future directions of international relations. This chapter aims to examine the development and current state of IR theory in China in the context of its rapid rise as a global power. This chapter also intends to describe the implications of the whole gamut of this issue for analyzing Philippines-China security relations. Development of IR Theory in China Though China is proud of its more than 3,000 years of civilization, IR as a field of study in China came much later than in the West.1 But it is interesting to note that as early as 1926, a book on China’s international relations was already published by a foreign observer in Shanghai.2 In 1955, the People’s University of China established the Foreign Affairs College, which in 2005 became the Foreign Affairs University. It is the only university in China affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.3 The China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) offers not only foreign language courses but also courses in international relations, diplomacy, international economics and business, international law, and foreign policy. It offers bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in International Relations, International Politics, Diplomacy, International Economy, English Language and Literature, Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, etc.4 Since it was established, the CFAU has published numerous textbooks such as History of Contemporary International Relations, History of Modern Diplomacy of China, Diplomatic Documentation, Deng Xiaoping’s Art of Diplomacy, An Introduction to Diplomacy, China and the USA, China’s Diplomacy: A New Presentation, US China Policy and the Issue of Taiwan, Studies of Legal Issues on Multimodal Transportation of International Goods, Fourteen Lessons on 1 Song Xinning, “Building International Relations Theory with Chinese Characteristics”, Journal of Contemporary China, Vol. 10, No. 26 (2001), p. 61. 2 Harley Farnsworth MacNair, China's International Relations & Other Essays (Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1926). 3 See website of China Foreign Affairs University at http://www.cfau.edu.cn/. 4 Ibid.
  • 6. 7 Communication, and Economic Diplomacy.5 The CFAU also has the Institute of International Relations, which shall focus on building an IR theory “with Chinese characteristics.” The 1960s saw the establishment of international relations department in key universities in China aside from the People’s University. In 1963, for example, Peking University and Fudan University set up their own Department of International Politics. During the same period, ten research institutes on international relations were built under the control and supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the New China News Agency.6 These research institutes published textbooks and journals on international relations and some even translated the works of Western international relations theorists like Nicholas Spykman, Henry Kissinger, George Kennan and Herman Kahn, among others.7 The People’s Press and the World Affairs Press have a long-standing reputation of publishing IR-related books in China. However, no IR theory was really taught in China in the 1960s up to the 1970s because of the height of the Cold War. During the prime of ideological propaganda of the Cold War, IR studies in China were just interpretations of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Stalinism. University IR courses were offered “just to explain Marxist theories of imperialism colonialism, national liberation movements, and war and peace.”8 It was only in the 1980s when China started to think about IR theoretically with primordial objective of highlighting Chinese characteristics. The landmark event was the holding in 1985 of a conference of the China Society of the History of International Relations, which led to the publication of a book entitled Essays on the History of International Relations. Thereafter, Chinese universities began to offer IR subjects, which consequently encouraged schools to publish IR textbooks annotated by Gerald Chan.9 Though the 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident posed a challenge to IR theory-building in China because of the negative international image it constructed about China as a result of what the Chinese government called “Western propaganda”, theoretical studies on IR continued to develop. The development of IR theory in China can not be fully understood without a deep understanding of the evolution of IR studies in the country. The major milestone in the growth of IR studies in China was in 1979 when Chairman Deng Xiaoping enunciated the policy of great opening of People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the whole world. It is therefore not a big surprise why IR theory- building in China only began in the 1980s as a result of the opening policy of Chairman Deng. The end of the cold war in 1989 accelerated the process of IR theory-building with the rise of enthusiasm of younger and smarter students specializing in international studies. Professor Wang Jisi of the Institute of 5 Ibid. 6 Xinning, “Building International Relations Theory with Chinese Characteristics”, p. 62. 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid., p. 63. 9 Gerald Chan, International Studies in China: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Nova Science Publishers, 1998).
  • 7. 8 American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences divided the evolution of IR studies in China in the post-cold war era into three periods:10 First Period (1989-1991). This is characterized by the security uncertainties unleashed by the end of the cold war and the international ramifications of the Tiananmen Incident. The period also saw the rapid economic growth of Japan and the phenomenal economic integration of Western Europe. Having these events as a backdrop, Chinese scholars found it difficult to engage in IR theorizing as most of them are preoccupied observing current and emerging international events. But their enthusiasm on IR theories never waned as seen through the translations of the works of well-known IR theorists like Kenneth Waltz, Stanley Hoffman, Robert Gilpin and Joseph Nye, Jr.11 Second Period (1992-1998). Wang Jisi describes this period as the start of “fascinating growth of IR scholarship in China”, which coincided with the serious promotion by the Chinese government of cordial and friendly relations with key countries in the Asia Pacific and Africa.12 Though Asia was disturbed by the harsh impact of the 1997 Asian financial crisis aggravated by Taiwan’s growing pro-independence sentiments, IR studies in China “became increasingly consolidated, diversified and pluralized.”13 This led to intense scholarly discussions on various IR topics like peace and development, multipolarization, economic globalization, strategic partnership, international cooperation, international political economy, security outlook, human rights and international intervention, the clash of civilizations, democratic peace, and comprehensive national strength.14 Third Period (1999 – present). The third period describes the current state of IR studies in China where scholars discovered new areas in IR unfamiliar to them. According to Wang Jisi, the Kosovo War in 1999 and the US spy plane- Chinese jet air collision in 2001 further increased the enthusiasm of Chinese scholars on other IR issues not seriously discussed before. These issues are ethnic relations and tensions, the impact of religion on world politics, comparative party politics, crisis management, domestic sources of foreign policy, human rights diplomacy, the role of the media in IR, mutual images and perceptions between nations, and other topic like good governance, non- governmental organizations, new peoples’ organizations and civil society.15 Though Wang Jisi claims that Chinese scholars have a tradition of attaching great importance to IR theories, he underscores that IR theorizing in China is different from IR theorizing in the West in terms of content, discourse and approach. Thus, Chinese scholars attempted to develop IR theories with 10 Wang Jisi, “International Relations Studies in China Today: Achievements, Trends and Conditions” (A Report to the Ford Foundation) at http://www.irchina.org/en/xueke/inchina/gaikuang/gaikuang.asp. 11 Ibid, p. 5. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid., p. 6. 14 Ibid., p. 7. 15 Ibid., pp. 8-9.
  • 8. 9 “Chinese characteristics.” Professor Liang Shoude of Peking University was the leading IR scholar in China who argued for the development of IR theory with Chinese characteristics to challenge other IR theories that were constructed and developed to “serve the Western countries.” As mentioned previously, Professor Song Xinning, a Professor of International Relations at the Renmin University of China (also known as the People’s University of China), also advanced the idea of building an IR theory with Chinese characteristics. Professor Yiwei Wang of Fudan University even stressed the end of IR theories of the West and the rise of Chinese school.16 Yiwei Wang summarized his arguments in the following words: International Relations (IR) is both a science and an art: The unity of object and subject. Traditional International Relations Theories (IRT) have probed the laws of IR, in an attempt to become the universal science. IRT have developed into a class doctrine that defends the legitimacy of Western International System as a result of proceeding from the reality of IR while neglecting its evolving process, and overlooking the meaning of art and the presence of multi-international systems. In other words, IRT have turned into what Karl Marx might have deemed as the Vulgar International Relations Theories (VIRT). For this reason, we call the end of international relations theories. This phenomenon will be negated by the so-called Chinese School, which will set the sustainable and harmonious relations among nations, between state and non-state actors, and within states and non-state actors (in one word “global- society”) in five life-forces of economy, politics, military, culture and religion. Consequently, this will bring about a real regression of nationality and compatible development of various international systems.17 Current State of IR Theory in China According to Song Xinning, there are three major groups of IR scholars in China: a) Researchers in institutes under various government agencies, which focus more on policy-oriented studies to justify government policies and to provide policy reports to the government; b) University professors and researchers who concentrate more on theoretical and general IR studies; and, c) Researchers in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing and various academies of social sciences at the provincial level, which conduct both activities of the first two groups. Despite the efforts of these three groups, Xinning laments that IR theory in China remains backward compared to IR theory-building in North America and Europe. He, however, expresses hope for progress because of increasing interests in IR theory in China both by Chinese and foreign scholars. Since the 16 Yiwei Wang, “The End of International Relations Theory and the Rise of Chinese School” at http://www.irchina.org/en/xueke/inchina/gaikuang/gaikuang.asp. 17 Ibid.
  • 9. 10 1980s, IR as a field of scientific inquiry has grown dramatically amidst ideological constraints and political inhibitions.18 The 1990s saw the publications in China some excellent books on IR theory. In 1998, Wang Yizhou published a book, The Discipline of International Politics in the West: History and Theory19 while Zi Zhongyun published the Explorations of Theories of International Politics in China.20 In 1999, Lu Yi, Gu Guanfu, Yu Zhengliang, and Fu Yaozu edited a volume entitled Research on International Relations Theories in China’s New Era.21 These publications strongly demonstrate that intense discussions on IR theory have been taking place in China. Professor Alastair Ian Johnson of Harvard University observes that Chinese IRT has gone through three stages or three styles of IR theorizing in China: traditional stage, realist stage and social scientific stage:22 Traditional stage or style, which became predominant in the 1960s and 1970s, views theory not as an explanatory devise but more of a guiding philosophy. As a guiding philosophy, therefore, “it was politically important to get this ‘theory’ right.”23 It means that “the correctness of theory rested in its consistency with the political interests of the state as defined by the CCP. Theory was both positivist in the sense that it rested on understanding objective laws of historical development (the legacy of historical materialism in PRC scholarship), but it was also normative in the sense that what was often cast as an objective process was, in fact, desired by China’s leaders.”24 The realist stage or style, which became popular in the 1980s and early 1990s, saw some Chinese scholars abandoning the traditional style of IR theorizing with the waning of ideological influence Marxism. During this stage, some Chinese scholars, particularly those younger ones, were attracted to realist school advanced by Hans Morgenthau and Henry Kissinger. These younger IR Chinese scholars expressed their dissatisfaction to the idea of an IR theory with Chinese characteristics arguing that this idea is “backward” and it isolates Chinese scholars away from Western IR discourses.25 But this theoretical debate among Chinese scholars has positive effect in terms of acquiring a “higher level of awareness of the meta-theoretical issues behind social sciences, and the need to think more systematically about ontology what is researchable) and epistemology (how to research it).”26 18 Yongjin Zhang, “International Relations Theory in China Today: The State of the Field”, The China Journal, No. 47 (January 2002), p. 101. 19 Wang Yizhou, The Discipline of International Politics in the West: History and Theory (Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe, 1998). 20 Zi Zhongyun, Explorations of Theories of International Politics in China (Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe, 1998). 21 Lu Yi, Gu Guanfu, Yu Zhengliang, and Fu Yaozu (eds), Research on International Relations Theories in China’s New Era (Beijing: Shishi Chubanshe, 1999). 22 Alastair Ian Johnson, “The State of International Relations Research in China” (2002) at http://www.irchina.org/en/xueke/inchina/gaikuang/gaikuang.asp. 23 Ibid., p. 33. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid., p. 34. 26 Ibid.
  • 10. 11 The social scientific stage refers to events of the mid 1990s when some Chinese scholars became more conscious about “understanding and situating Chinese research in relationship to US and Western IR theory.”27 There are three major sources of this “turn to theory”. The first source was a group of Chinese scholars who returned to China after acquiring IR education in the US and Western Europe. These returning Chinese scholars who were required to teach IR in China “brought with them specific training in theory and methods which they passed on to their students.”28 The second source was the translation into Chinese major classic IR works of Western theorists like Robert Gilpin, Kenneth Waltz, Peter Katzenstein, Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye. The third source was the entrepreneurship of a key group of younger IR scholars in Beijing and Shanghai who took over the editing of IR journals and book series.29 According to Johnson, though there is the current growth of IR theory consciousness in China, explicit theorizing is still relatively new in the PRC. In fact, in IR studies in China, there are more discussions on current international events than on IR theory. Is There an IR Theory With Chinese Characteristics? Though at present there is an increasing interest on IR theory in China, which encourages other scholars to develop an IR theory with Chinese characteristics, the state of IR theory in China remains nascent or embryonic. Even in the more specific area of foreign policy, the use scientific theory and method is still very new.30 William A. Callahan also expresses doubts about the existence of IR theory with Chinese characteristics.31 Professor Qin Yaqing even contends that China is yet to develop a Chinese IRT. He identifies three factors why there has been no Chinese IRT, to wit: There is not yet a Chinese international relations theory (IRT) mainly due to three factors: the unconsciousness of ‘international- ness’ in the traditional Chinese worldview, the dominance of the Western IR discourse in the Chinese academic community, and the absence of a consistent theoretical core in the Chinese IR research. A Chinese IRT is likely and even inevitable to emerge along with the great economic and social transformation that China has been experiencing and by exploring the essence of the Chinese intellectual tradition. The Tianxia worldview and the Tributary System in the two millennia of China's history, the radical thinking 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid., p. 35. 30 Alastair Ian Johnson, “Trends in Theory and Method in the Study of Chinese Foreign Policy” (Paper prepared for the conference on China Studies on the occasion of the 50 th Anniversary of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, December 2005). 31 William A. Callahan, “China and the Globalization of IR Theory: Discussion of Building International Relations Theory with Chinese Characteristics”, Journal of Contemporary China, vol. 10, no. 26 (2001), pp. 75-88.
  • 11. 12 and revolutions in the nineteenth and twentieth century, and reform and opening-up since 1978 are the three milestones of China's ideational and practical development and therefore could provide rich nutrition for a Chinese IRT. In addition, a Chinese IRT is likely to develop around the core problematic of China's identity vis-à-vis international society, a century-long puzzle for the Chinese and the world alike.32 One of the major reasons why IR theory remains undeveloped in China is that there is no fully developed IR research institutions in the PRC that are academically independent from state institutions.33 Most IR research institutions in China are regulated by the government whose principal interests are not in theories but in strategies and tactics. IR-related research works and studies are heavily influenced by the state’s demand to justify its present political ideology and to strengthen its current foreign policy. According to Gustaaf Geeraerts and Men Jing, “if social scientists pay too much attention to what the government requires, they will not be scientists but rather aides and staff to government officials.”34 This argument is reinforced by Wang Jisi who underscores that without academic independence in the field of IR, there can be no scientific theory.35 IR theories developed by Western scholars will continue to be used by Chinese counterparts to analyze PRC foreign policy strategy and its place in the international community.36 Even China’s security practice will still be analyzed within the prism of Western theories.37 But with the rise of China as global superpower, some scholars have argued that China can pose a challenge to existing international relations theory.38 Summary and Conclusion Though China can be proud of its 3,000 years of civilization with excellent statecraft on foreign relations, IR theory remains undeveloped in China. It was only in the 1950s when serious academic interests on IR began in China. IR as a field of study in China became more popular in 1979 during its economic opening. The end of the cold further accelerated the interests of Chinese scholars 32 Qin Yaqing, “Why is there no Chinese International Relations Theory?” at www.irchina.org/en/pdf/qyq07a.pdf. 33 Gustaaf Geeraerts and Men Jing, “International Relations Theory in China”, Global Society, vol. 15, no. 3 (2001). 34 Ibid. 35 Wang Jisi, ``International Relations Theory and the Study of Chinese Foreign Policy: A Chinese Perspective’’ , in Thomas W. Robinson and David Shambaugh (eds.), Chinese Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), p. 57. 36 See for example Avery Goldstein, “An Emerging China’s Emerging Grand Strategy: A Neo- Bismarcchian Turn?” in G. John Ikenberry and Michael Mastanduno (eds), International Relations Theory and the Asia Pacific (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), pp. 57-106. 37 See Wu Xinbo, “China: Security Practice of a Modernizing and Ascending Power” in Muthiah Alagappa (ed), Asian Security Practice: Material and Ideational Influences (Standord, California: Standford University Press, 1998), pp. 115-156. 38 Jeremy Paltiel, “The Rise of China as a Challenge to International Relations Theory” (Paper presented at the international conference of the International Studies Association, Honolulu, Hawai, March 2005).
  • 12. 13 on IR studies. Yet, IR theorizing continues to be nascent in China because of limited academic independence of IR research institutions. The Chinese government is more interested in strategy development and foreign policy- making rather than on theory-building. Without greater academic independence in the field of IR, Chinese scholars will find it difficult develop its own IR theory.
  • 13. 14 CHAPTER TWO A Philippine Perspective on China-US-ASEAN Relations Introduction To maintain regional stability and promote regional security, the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) has been constructively engaging all major powers in the Asia Pacific. This is manifested in ASEAN’s dynamic dialogue partnership with Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States. ASEAN also has dialogue partnerships with the Republic of Korea, Pakistan and some regional and international organizations. Among its dialogue partnerships, ASEAN relations with China and the US are considered to be the most challenging ones because of the prevailing perception that the security of the Asia Pacific region, as well as of Southeast Asia, rests enormously upon the status of China-US relations.39 The two major powers are also seriously competing for influence in Southeast Asia,40 which can test the ability of ASEAN to deal with the rising dragon and the American eagle.41 Being a founder member of ASEAN, the Philippines also confronts the formidable challenge on how to engage the rising China without creating unnecessary discomforts with its American security ally. This chapter presents a Philippine perspective of China-US-ASEAN relations in the post-9/11 world. It starts with a discussion of the background of China-US-ASEAN relations during the cold war followed by an analysis on the status of these trilateral relations after 9/11. It then examines the implications of China-US-ASEAN relations for Philippine foreign and security policy towards China. Background on China-US-ASEAN Relations Since its establishment in 1967, ASEAN foreign policy has always been influenced by the behaviors of major powers.42 Southeast Asia even became the fulcrum of major power rivalries in the Asia Pacific. During the cold war, the founding members ASEAN sided with the Western powers to contain the spread of communism in the region. 39 Evelyn Goh, “In Search of Suitable Positions in the Asia Pacific: Negotiating the US-China Relationship and Regional Security”, IDSS Working Paper Series, no. 51 (September 2003), p. 1. 40 Kathryn L. Gauthier, "China as Peer Competitor? Trends in Nuclear Weapons, Space, and Information Warfare," Air War College Maxwell Paper No. 18 (July 1999). 41 Quincy Crosby, The Eagle and the Dragon: China’s Economic Ascent (New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2008). For historical background of the relations, see Don Lawson, The Eagle and the Dragon: The History of U.S.-China Relations (California: Crowell, 1985). 42 N. Ganesean, “ASEAN’s Relations with Major External Powers”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 22, no. 2 (August 2000), p. 258.
  • 14. 15 Among the Western powers, the US became the most important partner of ASEAN in preventing communist expansionism in Southeast Asia. In fact, "support for and cooperation with ASEAN is a linchpin of American Pacific Policy" during the cold war in order to protect ASEAN states from falling to communist rule.43 The US also entered into military alliance with Thailand and the Philippines to support American regional security strategy in Southeast Asia. The US even attempted to form a NATO-type security organization in Southeast Asia in 1955 through the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO). But SEATO met its untimely demise when it was dissolved in 1977. Nonetheless, the US remained committed to the security in Southeast Asia through its existing military alliance with Thailand and the Philippines. During the cold war period, ASEAN viewed China as an ideological enemy.44 Beijing’s support to the communist insurgency movements in Southeast Asia created a negative feeling and hostility towards China among the non- communist Southeast Asian states.45 In fact, none of ASEAN founding members had normal relations with China in the 1960s.46 ASEAN-China security relations only improved in the late 1970s when Southeast Asian countries normalized their relations with the People’s Republic of China (PROC). China’s security relations with ASEAN improved further in the 1980s when Beijing rallied behind ASEAN in opposing Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia.47 With the end of the cold war, the ideological conflict among the major powers subsided. But the interests of major powers on ASEAN persisted, even as they re-defined their interests in the region. ASEAN, on the other hand, deliberately pursued a post-cold war strategy of engaging all major powers though bilateral and multilateral means. A scholar called this strategy “omni- enmeshment” strategy, which refers to the process of engaging with an actor or entity so as to draw it into deep involvement into a system or community, enveloping it in a web of sustained exchanges and relationships, with the eventual aim of integration.”48 Meanwhile, the post-cold war period increased tensions between the US and China. With the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, the US was freed of a former archrival. American attention was then focused on China considered by many Western security analysts as posing a great threat to the security of the 43 Kenneth J. Convoy, “Challenges to the US-ASEAN Quasi-Alliance”, The Heritage Foundation Asian Studies Backgrounder, no. 60 (21 April 1987). 44 For an excellent historical background of China-ASEAN relations, see Leo Suryadinata, China and the Southeast Asian States (Singapore: National University of Singapore, 1985). 45 Amitav Acharya, “Seeking Security in the Dragon’s Shadow: China and Southeast Asia in the Emerging Asian Order”, IDSS Working Paper Series, no. 44 (March 2003), p. 3. 46 Alice D. Ba, “China and ASEAN: Renavigating Relations for a 21st Century Asia”, Asian Survey, vol. 43, no. 4 (2003), p. 624. 47 Ibid. 48 Evelyn Goh, “Great Powers and Southeast Asian Regional Security Strategies: Omni- Enmeshment, Balancing and Hierarchical Order,” IDSS Working Paper Series, no. 84 (July 2005), p. 8.
  • 15. 16 world.49 Though China resists this kind of perception, the Tiananmen Incident in 1989 created a negative image of China in world affairs. American security analysts have viewed China to be the “great American foreign policy problem in the 21st century”50 and a “potential peer competitor to the U.S. in world affairs.”51 News reports and experts’ analysis demonizing China have dominated Western literature after 1989. The EP-3 incident in April 2001 exacerbated the negative view about China. This “aura of tragedy” surrounding US-China security relations in the post-cold war era resonated strongly in ASEAN.52 Though ASEAN carried an ambivalent view of China after the cold war and was aware of American preeminent power in the Asia Pacific, the fragile China-US security relations was a source of security concern in Southeast Asia.53 China’s assertive attitude in the South China Sea since the 1990s has left a negative legacy in China-ASEAN relations. But China recovered from this negative image when it played a constructive role during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Since then, China’s image in ASEAN dramatically improved while American image deteriorated since it left Clark and Subic in 1992.54 But China’s negative image in Southeast Asia resurfaced in 2011 when PRC displayed anew its assertive attitude in the South China Sea. Though the US continued to be the most important security partner of ASEAN (particularly to the founding members), China’s effective “charm offensive”55 of Southeast Asia marked by American “neglect” of the region in the late 1990s, made ASEAN relations with US and China tilting in favor of the PROC.56 It was even argued that US relations with ASEAN became problematique in the 1990s because “ASEAN’s interests and concerns have never been a major consideration in the formulation of US policy towards Asia-Pacific region.”57 49 See Bill Gerts, The China Threat (Washington DC: Regnery, 2000). Also see Herbert Yee and Ian Storey (eds), The China Threat: Perceptions, Myths and Reality (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002). 50 Joseph Grieco, “China and American in a New World Polity” Carolyn W. Pumphrey (ed) The Rise of China in Asia: Security Implications (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2002) P. 21. 51 Marvin C. Ott, “Southeast Asia and the United States: Policy Without Strategy”, PACNET Newsletter, No. 21 (28 May 199). Also at <ttp://www/csis.org/pacfor/pac2199.html>. 52 Denny Roy, ‘Rising China and U.S. Interests: Inevitable vs. Contingent Hazards’, Orbis Vol. 47, No. 1 , 2003, p. 137. 53 Harry Harding, A Fragile Relationship, (Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1992). 54 “U.S. Influence in Asia Under Bush Waning,” Agence France Presse, (29 August 2004). 55 Kurlantzick, “China’s Charm Offensive in Southeast Asia,” Current History, September 2006. 56 Rizal Sukma, “US-Southeast Asia Relations After the Crisis: The Security Dimension” (Background Paper Prepared for The Asia Foundation’s Workshop on America’s Role in Asia Bangkok, 22-24 March 2000). 57 Ibid.
  • 16. 17 China-US-ASEAN Relations after 9/11 The 9/11 event served as a significant milestone in China-US-ASEAN relations. After a decade of neglect, the US declared Southeast Asia as the “second front” in the global war on terrorism. This occurred amidst China’s strengthening relationship with ASEAN after 9/11. While the US reinvigorated its security alliance with the Philippines, strengthened military relations with Thailand, improved defense relations with Indonesia and Malaysia and enhanced strategic partnership with Singapore in the aftermath of 9/11 using its “hard power”, China also improved its bilateral ties with Southeast Asian states and deepened its dialogue partnership with ASEAN using its “soft power” diplomacy.58 China’s use of “soft power” reinforced by a new policy of multilateralism created a benign image of Beijing in ASEAN.59 On the other hand, American use of “hard power” aggravated by a strategy of unilateralism isolated itself from Southeast Asian affairs.60 To assure ASEAN that China’s international behavior is peaceful and constructive, it signed in 2002 the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and acceded in 2003 to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). The US upholds its neutral position on the South China Sea disputes and has not ratified the TAC. Though the war on terrorism in Southeast Asia brought renewed US attention to ASEAN, Washington has failed to match Beijing’s increasing influence in Southeast Asia. There is even a view that the US was so preoccupied in Iraq and Afghanistan that it suffered a strategic neglect of Southeast Asia. While China was so busy forging economic ties with ASEAN countries using its soft power, the US was so busy, using its hard power, hunting for so- called terrorist personalities in Southeast Asia associated with Al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). There is no doubt that this shift in China-ASEAN relations has affected not only American interests but also US status in the region.61 The post-9/11 era was indeed a moment of China’s tactical gain in ASEAN vis a vis the US.62 China’s soft power re-emergence in Southeast Asia resulted in a dramatic change of ASEAN states attitude towards the PROC – they 58 Thomas Lum, Wayne M. Morrison, and Bruce Vaughn, “China’s Soft Power in Southeast Asia”, CRS Report for Congress (4 January 2008). Also see Eric Teo Cheow, “China’s Rising Soft Power in Southeast Asia,” Pac Net 19A, (3 May 2004). 59 Kuik Cheng-Chwee, “Multilateralism in China's ASEAN Policy: Its Evolution, Characteristics, and Aspiration”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 27, No. 1 (April 2005), pp. 102-122. 60 Miller, Benjamin. "Hard Power and Soft Power: the Effects of 9/11 on US Hegemony in the International System" (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott, Loews Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA, 2008). 61 Bruce Vaughn, “China-Southeast Asia Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications for the United States”, CRS Report for Congress (8 February 2005). 62 Mohan Malik, Dragon on Terrorism: Assessing China’s Tactical Gains and Strategic Losses Post September 11 (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2002).
  • 17. 18 are now “less-biased, less anti-communist and less anti-Beijing.”63 On the other hand, American strong assertiveness to use its hard power to achieve political and strategic ends in the global war on terrorism has created dissent and anti- Americanism in Southeast Asia.64 Though ASEAN needs American presence to balance China’s growing influence in the region, it detests American predominance. ASEAN also expressed disappointments that the US after 9/11 has become less consensual and more coercive.65 This is in stark contrast with China, which has become more consultative, cooperative and socializing in the aftermath of 9/11.66 Now, ASEAN no longer views China as a threat. Though the rise of China poses security challenges in Southeast Asia, ASEAN now regards Beijing as a partner in regional security.67 This new reality in China-US- ASEAN relations has endangered American primacy in Southeast Asia.68 Implications for Philippine Foreign and Security Policy Towards China in the Post-9/11 World The growing China-ASEAN ties unleashed profound effects on Philippine policy towards China. While 9/11 resulted in the reinvigoration of Philippine- American security relations,69 it also led to the enhancement of Philippines-China defense and military cooperation.70 Since the establishment of Philippines- China diplomatic ties in 1975, both countries have gone a long way in their relations. After 9/11, Philippines-China relations became comprehensive. In 2005, in fact, the Philippine and China celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-China diplomatic relations. According to Chinese President Hu Jintao who visited the Philippines that year, the 30th anniversary represented the “golden-age” of Philippines-China relations. That year was also a landmark period in both countries’ bilateral relations as they launched the First 63 Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt, “China’s "soft power" re-emergence in Southeast Asia” (Paper presented at the inaugural international workshop ‘China World’ at Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School, on 10-11 March 2006), p. 38. 64 Mark Beeson, “Resisting hegemony: The sources and limits of anti-Americanism in Southeast Asia” (Paper for the workshop on Globalization, Conflict and Political Regimes in East and Southeast Asia, , Fremantle, WA, 15-16 August, 2003). 65 Ibid., p. 13. 66 Alice Ba, “Who's Socializing Whom? Complex Engagement in Sino-ASEAN Relations”, The Pacific Review, vol. 19, no. 2, (June 2006), pp. 157-179. 67 Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Southeast Asian Perspectives on the Rise of China: Regional Security After 9/11, Parameters, vol 33, no. 2 (Summer 2003), pp. 98-107. 68 Dana R. Dillon and John J. Tkacik, Jr.,”China and ASEAN: Endangered American Primacy in Southeast Asia”, The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder, no. 1886 (19 October 2005)., 69 Paolo Pasicolan, "Strengthening US-Philippine Alliance for Fighting Terrorism", Heritage Foundation Executive Memorandum, no. 815 (13 May 2002). Also see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Role of Philippine-American Relations in the Global Campaign Against Terrorism: Implications for Regional Security”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 24, no. 2 (August 2002), pp. 294-312; Renato Cruz de Castro, “The Revitalized Philippine-US Security Relations: A Ghost from the Cold War or an Alliance for the 21st Century”, Asian Survey, vol. 43, no. 6 (November/December 2003), pp. 971-988; and, Noel M. Morada, “Philippine-American Security Relations After 11 September: Exploring the Mutuality of Interests in the Fight Against International Terrorism”, Southeast Asian Affairs (January 2003), pp. 228-238. 70 Rommel C. Banlaoi, Defense and Military Cooperation Between the Philippines and China: Broadening Bilateral Ties in the Post-9/11 Era (Taipei: Center for the Advancement of Policy Studies, June 2007).
  • 18. 19 Philippines-China Defense and Security Dialogue in May 2005.71 The Philippines even played the China card when Manila’s relations with Washington cooled off in 2004 as a result of the withdrawal of Filipino troops in Iraq.72 Conservative analysts in Washington regretted the fact that China’s relations with the Philippines improved amidst the crisis in Philippines-American relations, to wit: China has developed and refined a policy of helping regimes in trouble by offering considerable political and economic support. This will become true for the Philippines, as China moves away from threatening rhetoric on territorial disputes in the South China Sea and employs a new approach. Beijing offered Manila $3 million for the establishment of a Chinese language-training program for the Philippine military, donated engineering equipment, and invited the Philippines to participate in naval exercises. Moreover, in the midst of stern U.S. criticism of the withdrawal of the Philippine medical team from Iraq, President Arroyo signed a confidential protocol with China on the exploitation of South China Sea resources. With her presidency in dire straits, Arroyo will gladly accept more largesse from Beijing.73 To understand the post-9/11 Philippine foreign and security policy towards China, there is also a need to comprehend ASEAN policy in the post- 9/11 era. The improvement of China’s security relations with ASEAN provided a conducive regional environment for the Philippines to also improve its foreign and security policy towards China. ASEAN’ benign attitude towards China in the post-9/11 era also created a benign attitude of the Philippines towards China, even if Manila is known in ASEAN as Pentagon’s long-standing security ally in Southeast Asia. In other words, China-US-ASEAN political and security dynamics have greatly informed Philippine foreign and security policy towards China in the post-9/11 world. In the midst of the strategic uncertainty of the security environment in the post-cold-war/ post-9/11 era, ASEAN faced the dilemma of balancing its relations with China and the US. Rather than pursuing a balancing act in traditional realist terms, ASEAN, instead, adopted a strategy of what scholars of international relations called “soft-balancing”.74 This concept departs from the idea of “hard balancing”, which requires the formation of military alliances. 71 This argument is based largely in Rommel C. Banlaoi, Security Aspects of Philippines-China Relations: Bilateral Issues and Concerns in the Age of Global Terrorism (Quezon City: Rex Book Store International, 2007), p. 1. 72 Mely Caballero Anthony, “Beyond the Iraq Hostage Crisis: Re-Assessing US-Philippines Relations”, IDSS Commentaries (28 July 2004). 73 Dana Dillon, “Crisis in the Philippines: What does it mean for the U.S.?”, The Heritage Foundation Web Memo, no. 799 (18 July 2005). 74 Yuen Foong Khong, Coping with Strategic Uncertainty: The Role of Institutions and Soft Balancing in Southeast Asia’s Post-Cold War Strategy (Paper prepared for the IDSS-Harvard Workshop on Southeast Asian International Relations and Security, March 15, 2004, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University). Also in Chapter 5 of Allen Carlson, Peter Katzenstein, and J.J. Suh (eds.) Rethinking Security in East Asia: Identity, Power, and Efficiency (Stanford University Press, 9/2004).
  • 19. 20 According to the traditional realist conception of hard balancing, ASEAN should side with the weak to balance the strong. However, “ASEAN did not act this way; it rejected the strategy of balancing against the stronger power because it saw the stronger power (the United States) as less of a threat than the weaker but rising power (China or Japan).”75 There is also view of hard balancing, which contends that states form or join military alliances to counter-check the rise of a new power. 76 In the case of Asia, this new power may refer to China. But instead of “hard balancing” China, ASEAN states were soft-balancing China by welcoming American presence but at the same time engaging the new power. One school of international relations calls this approach as “bandwagoning” that is crouching under rather than containing the new power.77 Bandwagoning is a form of acceptance of “a subordinate role to the dominant power in exchange for material or ideational gain.”78 It is argued that instead of balancing, ASEAN is, in fact, bandwagoning with China.79 There is a view, however, that balancing and bandwagoning “may not fully account for the range of strategies state actors adopt in order to preserve and promote their interests.”80 To accurately explain ASEAN relations with China and the US, scholars of Southeast Asian security affairs adopted the concept of “hedging strategy.” The hedging strategy is defined as “a purposeful act in which a state seeks to insure its long term interests by placing its policy bets on multiple counteracting options that are designed to offset risks embedded in the international system.”81 In the context of China-ASEAN relations, hedging has five components: economic-pragmatism, binding engagement, limited-bandwagoning, dominance-denial and indirect-balancing.82 ASEAN strategy of hedging with China and the United States can also explain Philippine foreign and security policy towards the two major powers. Instead of strictly balancing or bandwagoning with the two powers, the Philippines is hedging. Though the Philippines comprehensively engages China, it also maintains its security alliance with the US. Like ASEAN, the Philippines is relating with China and the US to get the best of both worlds. More of China in the Philippines does not mean less of the United States. As rightly underscored by then Philippine foreign affairs Secretary Teofisto Guingona, “In 75 Ibid., p. 18. 76 Stephen M. Walt, “Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power,” International Security vol. 9, no. 4 (Spring 1985), pp. 3-43. 77 Kuik Cheng-Chwee, Rising Dragon, Crouching Tigers? Comparing the Foreign Policy Responses of Malaysia and Singapore Toward a Re-emerging China, 1990-2005, BiblioAsia, vol. 3, no. 4 (January 2008), p. 4. 78 Ibid. 79 Denny Roy, “Southeast Asia and China: Balancing of Bandwagoning?”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 27, no. 2, (August 2005), pp. 305-322. 80 Chong Ja Ian, “Revisiting Responses To Power Preponderance: Going Beyond The Balancing- Bandwagoning Dichotomy”, IDSS Working Paper Series, no. 54 (November 2003), p. 1. 81 Kuik Cheng-Chwee, Rising Dragon, Crouching Tigers? Comparing the Foreign Policy Responses of Malaysia and Singapore Toward a Re-emerging China, 1990-2005, op. cit. 82 Ibid.
  • 20. 21 our relations with an old friend, China, and with a perennial ally, the United States, we Filipinos should be guided by one sure canon: national interests.”83 Summary and Conclusion ASEAN has adopted a strategy of constructively engaging all major powers in the Asia Pacific. Among the great powers, ASEAN relations with China and the US are considered to be the most challenging. During the cold war, ASEAN sided with US to contain the spread of communism. ASEAN had animosity China at that time because of its support to communist insurgency. After the cold war, however, China’s relations with ASEAN dramatically improved. The US, on the other hand, strategically neglected Southeast Asia. After 9/11, China-ASEAN relations improved further, despite American declaration of Southeast Asia as its second front in the global war on terrorism. In the post-9/11 era, ASEAN adopted a hedging strategy towards China and the US. Consistent with the ASEAN strategy, the Philippines also pursued a foreign and security policy towards China and the US on the basis of hedging. ASEAN’s hedging strategy informs Philippine foreign and security policy towards China. 83 Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. “Philippines-China-United States Relations: Foreign Policy Issues and Economic Implications” (Lecture delivered during the 4th FVR-RPDEV Lecture Series on 3 July 2002), p. 2.
  • 21. 22 CHAPTER THREE Philippine Policy in the South China Sea: Implications for Philippines-China Security Relations Introduction In March 2008, the Philippines and China faced a serious controversy concerning the implementation of Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) in the South China Sea. The JMSU, signed in Manila on 14 March 2005, is a tripartite agreement among the petroleum companies of China, the Philippines and Vietnam that requires the three countries to conduct a joint marine seismic exploration of the designated area in the Spratly Island. Both houses of the Philippine Congress urged for an investigation of the deal to examine the culpability of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for possible violation of the Constitution, which is, under the Philippine law, is a grave offense that can lead to impeachment. The JMSU raised many collateral issues that have bearing on Philippine position in the South China Sea and on the status of Philippines-China security relations. The controversy demonstrated that the South China Sea dispute remains a lingering challenge in Philippines-China relations in the post-9/11 world. This challenge not only affects Philippines-China security relations but it also has impact on regional security. This chapter re-examines Philippine foreign and security policy on the South China Sea in the light of the JMSU scandal. It describes the strategic significance of the South China Sea in Philippine foreign and security policy and analyzes its implications for Philippines-China security relations. The paper concludes with a discussion on how to manage the dispute in the South China through what many analysts call “cooperative management regime.” The South China Sea in Philippine Foreign and Security Policy84 There is a huge avalanche of literature on the South China Sea, one of the largest bodies of waters in the world after the five major oceans.85 Located in the Pacific, it encompasses areas from the Malacca Strait to the Taiwan Strait measuring around 3,500,000 km². The South China Sea is composed of four major groups of islands, namely the Pratas Islands, the Paracel Islands, 84 This section is culled largely from Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Philippine Defense Policy Perspectives on the South China Sea and the Rise of China” in his Security Aspects of Philippines-China Relations: Bilateral Issues and Concerns in the Age of Global Terrorism (Quezon: Rex Book Store International, 2007), Chapter 5. 85 Examples are Mark J. Valencia, China and the South China Sea Disputes, Adelphi Paper No. 298 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); Daniel Dzurek, The Spratly Islands Disputes (Durham: International Boundaries Research Uni, 1996).
  • 22. 23 Macclesfield Bank, and the Spratly Islands.86 Ownership of these islands has been contested by several claimants for various reasons including among others historic rights, discovery, effective occupation and sovereign jurisdiction provided for by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the SEA (UNCLOS). Because the South China Sea is a very strategic waterways surrounded by rich marine resources as well as oil and gas potential, the area is marred by international diplomatic disputes that, if not effectively managed, can escalate into military conflicts.87 The South China Sea Dispute is therefore creating a security anxiety for being one of the flashpoints of conflict in the Asia Pacific.88 Among these groups of islands, the most controversial is the Spratly Islands having been claimed in whole by China and Taiwan and in part by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Indonesia, though strictly not a claimant state, is an important stakeholder to the on-going conflict in the Spratlys because of its overlapping Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with other claimants, particularly its Gas Field in Natuna Island being contested by China and Taiwan. The Philippines is claiming some parts of the Spratlys that belong to what it calls the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG). The KIG lies in the Western section of the Spratlys. It is composed of 53 islands, islets, reefs, shoals, cays, rocks, and atolls with an area of 64,976 square miles. The biggest island in the KIG is Pag- asa (Hope), more internationally known as Thi Tu Island. The Philippines has also occupied the following islands: • Patag - Flat Island (Feixin Dao) • Lawak -Nanshan Island (Mahuan Dao) • Likas -West York Island (Xiyue Dao) • Panata -Lankiam Cay (Shuanghuang Shazhou) • Kota -Loaita Island (Nanyue Dao) • Rizal Reef -Commodore Reef (Siling Jiao) The Philippine government started to lay its claim in the South China Sea in 1947, a year after the Philippines gained its independence from the United States. During that time, the Philippine government described the Spratlys as the “New Southern Islands”. Then Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Garcia requested the Allied Forces to put the “New Southern Islands” under Philippine jurisdiction for security reasons. The Philippines even asserted its sovereignty to the KIG before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in the 1950s. Since 1968, the Philippine military has effectively occupied and administered at least eight of the islands in the KIG. 86 See “An Introduction to the South China Sea” at http://vm.nthu.edu.tw/southsea/english.index1.htm. 87 Ralph A. Cossa, "Security Implications of Conflict in the South China Sea: Exploring Potential Triggers of Conflict", A Pacific Forum CSIS Special Report ", PacNet Newsletter #16. (April 17, 1998). 88 Lu Ning, Flashpoint Spratlys (Singapore: Dolphin Trace Press Pte Ltd, 1995).
  • 23. 24 On 11 June 1978, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 1596 declaring the KIG as a municipality of Palawan. PD 1596 vividly reflects Philippine policy position on this claim when it states that the KIG “does not belong to any state or nation, but, by reason of history, indispensable need, and effective occupation and control established in accordance with international law, such areas must not be deemed to belong and subject to the sovereignty of the Philippines.” It has also declared the area as vital to the security and economic survival of the Philippines. Since then, residents of KIG have been holding local elections there to demonstrate Philippine sovereignty in the area.89 The Philippines recognizes the fact that there are other claimants on the KIG. PD 1596 articulates Philippine perspective on this matter when it says that “while other state have laid claims to some of these areas, their claims have lapsed by abandonment and can not prevail over that of the Philippines on legal, historical, and equitable grounds.” Another basis of Philippine claim of the KIG is the principle of terra nullius. This principle states that the islands being claimed by the Philippines are owned by no one and without a sovereign authority. The discovery and occupation of Filipino navigator Tomas Cloma of around 33 islands, cays, sandbars and coral reefs in the South China Sea on 15 May 1956 provided the Philippines a historical justification of the claim. The Filipino navigator collectively called these islands and islets as Free Territory of the Freedomland. In 1956, Cloma wrote a letter to Garcia to inform him of the occupation of the islands, which were described, to be outside of Philippine waters but not within the jurisdiction of any country. When the Philippine media publicized the Philippine claim, China, France, South Vietnam, the Netherlands and Taiwan reportedly laid their respective claims to this group of islands.90 Eventually, France and the Netherlands dropped their claims. The Philippines also lays its claim on the basis of the principle of proximity and the principle of the 200-nautical mile EEZ embodied in the UNCLOS. The Philippines argues that the KIG falls within the EEZ of the Philippine archipelago. The final basis of claim of the Philippines is the principle of the continental shelf. The KIG lies in the continental shelf abutting the Western boundaries of Palawan Province.91 Filipino geologists argue that Palawan is a mini-continent. On the basis of geological evidences, the KIG belongs to the continental shelf of 89 For more discussion, see Aileen S. Baviera (ed), The South China Sea Disputes: Philippine Perspectives (Manila: Philippine-China Development Resource Center and the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, 1992). 90 Merliza M. Makinao, “Understanding the South China Sea Dispute”, OSS Briefing Paper (Quezon City: Office of Strategic and Special Studies, Armed Forces of the Philippines, 1988), p. 12. 91 See Haydee B. Yorac, “The Philippine Claim to the Spratly Island Group” in Theresa C. Carino (ed), China-ASEAN Relations: Regional Security and Cooperation (Manila: Philippine-China Development Resource Center, 1991) and Gil S. Fernandez, “The Philippine’s South China Sea Claims” in Baviera, pp. 18-24.
  • 24. 25 Palawan. PD 1596 asserts this basis of claim when it states that the KIG “is part of the continental margin of the Philippine archipelago.” Strategic Significance of the South China Sea In Philippine Foreign and Security Policy The South China Sea is strategically significant for the Philippines because of the following considerations: a) The politics of oil; b) The geopolitics of navigation; and, 3) The politics of marine resources. The Politics of Oil. It has been projected that oil consumption in Asia is going to increase dramatically in the next few decades. Over the next 20 years, oil consumption among developing Asian countries is expected to rise by 4% annually.92 If the current oil demand persists, oil consumption in Asia will double in 2020. Though the Philippines only represents 1.2% of the total oil consumption in Asia, its oil production is extremely limited making the country heavily dependent on oil imports. Due to the development of new offshore deepwater oil deposits, the Philippines experienced a modest increase in oil production in 2007 estimated at 23 thousand barrels per day (bbl/d).93 The Malampaya Project is the country’s largest natural gas development project. Nonetheless, the Philippines continue to rely on imported oil, particularly from the Middle East, to meet the increasing domestic demand. This situation encourages the Philippines to consider the South China Sea as an alternative source of its power supply. There are conflicting claims on the oil potential of the South China Sea. Based on the research conducted by Chinese experts, the total gas resources of the South China Sea can reach 900 Tcf with an annual production of 1.8 Tcf. Other sources indicate that the potential oil resources of the South China Sea are 213 billion barrels. In the 1995 study conducted by Russia's Research Institute of Geology of Foreign Countries, there are around 6 billion barrels of oil in the Spratly Islands, of which 70 percent would be natural gas.94 It has also been estimated that the hydrocarbon resource potential of the Spratlys area fall into the very broad range of between one and 17.7 million tons of oil.95 Despite these competing estimates, the South China Sea is perceived to be “oil rich”, Chinese media described the area as the “Second Persian Gulf”. 92 David Rosenberg, “The South China Sea” at http://www.southchinasea.org/why.html. 93 Energy Information Administration, “Oil Consumption and Production in the Philippines” at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Philippines/Oil.html. 94 Rosenberg, “The South China Sea” at http://www.southchinasea.org/why.html. 95 Clive Schofield, “Sea of Plenty: The Oil Factor in the South China Sea and Prospects for Joint Development” (Paper prepared for the Panel on the South China Sea in honour of Professor Michael Leifer at the Third International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Studies, London, 6-8 September 2001), p. 7.
  • 25. 26 Oil and Natural Gas Potential in the South China Sea Countries Proven Oil Reserves (Billion Barrels) Proven Gas Reserves (Trillion Cubic Feet) Oil Production (Barrels/Day) Gas Production (Billion Cubic Feet) Brunei 1.35 14.1 145,000 340 Cambodia 0 0 0 0 China* 1 (est.) 3.5 290,000 141 Indonesia* 0.2 29.7 46,000 0 Malaysia 3.9 79.8 645,000 1,300 Philippines 0.2 2.7 <1,000 0 Singapore 0 0 0 0 Taiwan <0.01 2.7 <1,000 30 Thailand 0.3 7.0 59,000 482 Vietnam 0.6 6.0 180,000 30 Total 7.5 (est.) 145.5 1,367,000 2323 Source: GlobalSecurity.Org, “Oil and Gas in the South China Sea”, 2008. Among the claimants in the Spratlys, the Philippines has been considered to be the most active in licensing exploration activities. As stated earlier, the Malampaya Natural Gas to Power Project is its largest venture that started to sell gas in January 2002. The Malampaya Gas Field has been proven to be a source of 3.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas with 118 million barrels of condensate. Geopolitics of Navigation. The South China is described as one the world’s maritime superhighways. More than 50% of the world’s supertanker traffic passes through the South China Sea. Every year, almost half of the world’s merchant fleets sail through the South China Sea. According to US Energy Information Administration, “tanker traffic through the Strait of Malacca at the southwestern end of the South China Sea is more than three times greater than Suez Canal traffic, and well over five times more than the Panama Canal.”96 Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs) in the South China Sea are therefore a matter of life and death for the Asia Pacific countries considering that around 41,000 ships use its waterways.97 The South China Sea is therefore a strategic waterway as it also provides the key maritime link between the Indian Ocean and East Asia.98 96 Rosenberg, “The South China Sea” at http://www.southchinasea.org/why.html. 97 Ji Gouxing, “Rough Waters in the South China Sea: Navigation Issues and Confidence Building Measures”, Asia Pacific Issues, no. 53 (Honolulu: East West Center, August 2001), p. 2. 98 Ibid.
  • 26. 27 Source: Energy Information Administration, 2008. As an archipelagic state, the Philippines heavily depends on the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea for its national development and survival. With a total coastline of 17,500 km, of which 1,200 km face in the South China Sea, there is no doubt that the Philippines has enormous interest in the maritime security of SLOCs in the area considering that around 400,00 fishing vessels and 20,000 other commercial vessels navigate in Philippine waters.99 However, almost one third of the country’s sea lanes are found to be “unsafe” for navigation. Moreover, shippers and mariners do not use the Philippine sea lanes as extensively as the Strait of Malacca and the South China because voyages in the Philippine waters will take longer. Thus, the Philippines has to pursue its claims in the busy waterways of the Spratlys to promote its navigational rights. Politics of Marine Resources. Marine scientists contend that the South China Sea is rich in marine resources. It is described as “the center of maritime generic richness and diversity in the world” with a macro-ecosystem characterized by “high bio-diversity and fisheries productivity” due to the 99 Aileen S.P. Baviera, “Maritime Security in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea: A View from the Philippines” (Paper presented at the International Conference organized by the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies at the Manila Hotel on 17-18 October 1997).
  • 27. 28 “intrinsic connectivity of coral reefs, sea-grass, and mangrove forests.”100 The United Nations Atlas of the Oceans declares the South China Sea as Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) with the world’s highest level of bio-diversity.101 Because the South China Sea is the locus of complex ecological connectivities, the area has been considered a “savings bank” of all claimant states.102 Marine production in the area represents 12% of the total marine global production.103 Culture fisheries, in fact, contribute 54% of worldwide culture production.104 Due to its rich marine endowments, claimants, including the Philippines, are competing for control of the fishing area of the South China Sea. The situation is aggravated by the overlapping EEZ not only among claimants but also other littoral states of the South China Sea. In the study of Pakjuta Khemakorn of the United Nations – The Nippon Foundation, “The average per capita consumption of fish in East and Southeast Asia during the period 2000-2003 was 26.1 kg/year. This is much higher than the world average of 16.3 kg/year.”105 Khemakorn also writes: Fisheries also contribute to the employment and income of millions of people in the region. In 1994, the estimated numbers of full and part-time fishers engaged in marine and inland fisheries were 8.7 million and 1.7 million, respectively. According to FAO's findings, around 85% of the world's fishers are concentrated in Asia, particularly in the SCS region, compared to 77% in 1970. China has the largest number of fishers followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. In total, at least 31 million people are engaged in the fisheries sector (including aquaculture) and related industries in the region. Fisheries, therefore, play a very vital role in the food and economic security littoral states in the South China Sea. 100 Miguel D. Fortes, “The Role of Marine Environmental Science in the Western Philippine Seas”, University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (Unpublished, 1999). 101 For an excellent research and analysis on this issue, see Pakjuta Khemakorn, “Sustainable Management of Pelagic Fisheries in the South China Sea Region” (Manuscript, November 2006) at http://www.un.org/Depts/los/nippon/unnff_programme_home/fellows_pages/fellows_pape rs/khemakorn_0607_thailand.pdf. 102 See Clarita R. Carlos, “Ecological Connectivity in the South China Sea” (National Defense College of the Philippines, unpublished paper, 2001). 103 E.D. Gomez, “Is the Degradation of Marine Resources in the South China Sea Reversible?: Approaches to Sustainable Management” at http://www.emecs.or.jp/2000thai-sympo/pdf/re- gomes.pdf. 104 Ibid. 105 Khemakorn, “Sustainable Management of Pelagic Fisheries in the South China Sea Region”, op. cit., pp. 28-29.
  • 28. 29 The South China Disputes After 9/11: A Continuing Challenge in Philippines-China Relations With the politics of oil, geopolitics of navigation and politics of marine resources, there is no doubt that the South China Sea is a continuing security challenge in Philippines-China relations even after 9/11 with significant impact on the security of Southeast Asia and its neighboring regions. Though both countries are parties to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which, according to a study, is a product of de-escalation of dispute in the area,106 competing claims on the ownership of the islands continue to be a source of security anxieties not only between the Philippines and China but also other claimants and stakeholders in the conflict. One of the main sources of controversies involving the Philippines and China over the issue of the South China Sea was the JMSU scandal. Though Vietnam was part of the JMSU, the issue primarily involved the Philippines and China because of domestic political dynamics in Manila. The three petroleum companies of the three countries signed the JMSU on 14 March 2005 in Manila in order to undertake joint marine seismic exploration of designated areas in the Spratlys. The three countries regarded the JMSU as a significant step in the implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. The JMSU is a manifestation of pragmatic cooperation in the South China Sea in order to promote peace, stability and development of the contested area. The original JMSU was only signed between the Philippines and China on 1 September 2004 as part of their efforts to enhance their bilateral relations. But Vietnam protested for being excluded in the initiative. Being a strong claimant, the Philippines and China accommodated Vietnam after less than a year of negotiations that led to the signing of the tripartite agreement. China described the JMSU as “landmark agreement” while the Philippines called it a “historic breakthrough”. According to President Arroyo, "This is a historic event because it is the first, it is the breakthrough in implementing the provisions of the code of conduct in the South China Sea among ASEAN and China to turn the South China Sea into an area of cooperation rather than an area of conflict." Arroyo added, "It is not only a diplomatic breakthrough for peace and security in the region, but also a breakthrough for our energy independence program because one of the elements of this program is to work on strategic alliances with our friends and allies so that we can have more supply of energy for the region and our country." A $15 million budget was allotted for the implementation of the JMSU for a period of three years covering 2005 to 2008. However, the JMSU was put in the cloud of controversy in the Philippines because of the allegation that the Philippine government sold out parts of its territory to China in exchange of Official Development Assistance (ODA). The short article written by Barry Wain triggered the said scandal. In this article, 106 Ralf Emmers, “The De-Escalation of the Spratly Dispute in Sino-Southeast Asian Relations”, RSIS Working Paper Series (6 June 2007).
  • 29. 30 Wain heavily criticized President Arroyo for her “bungle in the South China Sea.”107 Wain argued that President Arroyo entered into “unequal and surreptitious” agreement with China, which lawmakers in Manila linked with a $329 million contract with the Chinese company, the ZTE, for a national broadband network. What made the JMSU highly suspicious, Wain stressed, was the lack of transparency in the agreement. He said that the JMSU was “shrouded in secrecy” and broke ranks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which according to Wain, “was dealing with China as a bloc on the South China Sea issue.” Wain went on to contend: President Arroyo’s agreement with China for a joint seismic study was controversial in several respects. By not consulting other ASEAN members beforehand, the Philippines abandoned the collective stance that was key to the group’s success with China over the South China Sea. Ironically, it was Manila that first sought a united front and rallied ASEAN to confront China over its intrusion into Mischief Reef a decade earlier. Sold the idea by politicians with business links who have other deals going with the Chinese, Ms. Arroyo did not seek the views of her foreign ministry.108 With the allegation that the Philippines has soften its claim in the South China Sea in favor of a multi-million dollar loan package from China, Congressman Roilo Golez sponsored an inquiry into the alleged anomalous agreement and argued that if found guilty of treason, President Arroyo should be held accountable and be subjected to impeachment procedure.109 Golez said that the JMSU was illegal and unconstitutional because it did not pass the approval of the Philippine Congress. But government officials contended that the JMSU did not violate the Philippine Constitution and it was intended to ease the country’s dependence on imported oil.110 Local officials in Palawan even expressed support to the JMSU arguing that this “will open the gates for us to really know the resources we have.” 111 Moreover, the Philippine government exclaimed that the JMSU was a tripartite commercial agreement among three oil companies of China, the Philippines and Vietnam. The agreement was not “a sell-out” of Philippine territory as the JMSU did not alter the territorial claims of three parties. The Philippine government also explained that the JMSU was an exemplary 107 Barry Wain, “Manila’s Bungle in the South China Sea”, Far Eastern Economic Review, January/February 2008. 108 Ibid. 109 “Lawmaker wants Arroyo held liable for authorizing JMSU,” Sun Star (11 March 2008) at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2008/03/11/lawmaker.wants.arroyo.held.liable.for.aut horizing.jmsu.(11.10.a.m.).html. 110 Philippine Information Agency, “JMSU not a treaty; does not violate RP's Constitution -- Perez, Manalac “, Issues Monitor (9 March 2008) at http://www.gov.ph/news/default.asp?i=20308. 111 “Local Officials Backing the JMSU Agreement ,” Sun Star (11 March 2008) at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2008/03/11/lawmaker.wants.arroyo.held.liable.for.aut horizing.jmsu.(11.10.a.m.).html.
  • 30. 31 confidence building measure (CBM) to convert the region of conflict in the South China into a region of peace and cooperation. The heat on the JSMU scandal slowed down when it expired in June 2008. But the Philippine government has organized a committee headed by the Department of Foreign Affairs to look into the possibility of extending the JMSU for mutual benefits of all parties concerned.112 This indicated that despite the controversy, the Philippine government remained steadfast in its position that the JMSU was needed to manage the South China Sea Dispute peacefully. Managing the South China Sea Disputes: Towards A Cooperative Management Regime? After 9/11, Philippines-China relations have improved tremendously based on the various agreements the two governments have entered into in various fields. Their bilateral relations also became comprehensive when they started their defense and security dialogue in 2005 and enthusiastically pursued thereafter a series of exchange visits of their military and security officials. But the JMSU scandal also demonstrated that their bilateral security relations remain fragile and the issues of territorial integrity in the South China Sea continue to be a sensitive issue in their bilateral relations. There have been a lot of proposals to peacefully manage the South China Sea Dispute. One proposal is through a functionalist approach where claimants will start cooperating in non-political aspects of the issue in order to “put under the rag” all sensitive issues that can trigger conflict.113 Another proposal is through “joint development”, which inspires the JMSU.114 There is also a concept of “sharing the resources” of the South China Sea as a peaceful option.115 But the most recent proposal is called “cooperative management regime” (CMR) conceptualized in 2007 in an international conference in Singapore organized by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang 112 “ Committee formed to study possible extension of JMSU”, GMA News (2 July 2008) at http://www.gmanews.tv/story/104683/Committee-formed-to-study-possible-extension-of- JMSU. 113 See Rommel C. Banlaoi, “A Functionalist Approach to the Management of Conflicts in the South China Sea: Options for China, the Philippines and other Claimants”, in Security Aspects of Philippines-China Relations, op. cit., Chapter 8. Also in Rommel Banlaoi, The ASEAN Regional Forum, the South China Sea Disputes, and the Functionalist Option (Quezon City: National Defense College of the Philippines), pp. 54-80. 114 Clive Schofield, “Sea of Plenty: The Oil Factor in the South China and Prospects for Joint Development” (Paper prepared for the Panel on the South China Sea in honour of Professor Michael Leifer at the Third International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Studies, London, 6-8 September 2001). 115 Mark Valencia, Mark Jon M. Van Dyke and Noel A. Ludwig, Sharing the Resources of the South China Sea, Paperback edition. (Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 1997).
  • 31. 32 Technological University.116 Apparently influenced by a “Regime Theory” in international relations, the CMR is consistent with the functionalist option in upholding the idea of functional cooperation to manage conflict in the South China Sea. Though the CMR remains embryonic in its conceptualization with little clarity and coherence, it urged claimants to engage in cooperation in non- traditional security as part of the over-all CBM and trust building in the South China Sea. The CMR is deemed to be alternative “conflict-avoidance” approach for the establishment of a regime of peace and stability in the South China Sea. The Philippines and China can contribute in the development of CMR in the South China Sea by pursuing a bilateral fisheries agreement. China and Japan entered into this kind of agreement in 1997 while China and South Korea followed suit in 2000. In fact, the Philippines has already proposed in 2007 a ’fisheries corridor’ in the South China Sea to avoid potential conflicts that could affect peace and stability in the region.117 Though the Philippines and China already held in 2005 the First Meeting of the Philippines-China Joint Commission on Fisheries on explore bilateral cooperation on fishery investments, research and technology, and safety of property and life at sea, the momentum to talk was disturbed by the JMSU controversy. There is a need to sustain talks on this issue to find a more pragmatic, peaceful and non-confrontational solution to the South China Sea conflict. Summary and Conclusion The Philippines has a policy to pursue what it calls a legitimate claim in the contested areas of the South China Sea. Immediately after the end of the cold war, territorial issues in the South China Sea became a source of tension in Southeast Asia because of China’s passage of territorial waters law in 1992 and occupation of the Mischief Reef in 1995. However, the tension deescalated after 9/11 due to China’s “charm offensive” in Southeast Asia, which resulted in the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China in 2002. The Declaration was hailed as a historic landmark in managing disputes in the South China Sea. But the South China Sea continues to be a security challenge between the Philippines and China because of lingering concerns over the sensitive issue of territorial integrity and national sovereignty. The JMSU controversy was a clear manifestation of this continuing security challenge. Though there have been many proposals to manage disputes in the South China Sea peacefully, a new approach called “Cooperative Management Regime” is being advanced. The Philippines and China may consider this approach in order to find a more pragmatic and peaceful solution to the South China Sea conflict. 116 The South China Sea: Towards a Cooperative Management Regime (Conference Report: RSIS, NTU, Singapore, 16-17 May 2007). Also see Sam Bateman and Ralf Emmers (eds), Security and International Politics in the South China Sea: Towards a Cooperative Management Regime (New York and London: Routledge, 2008). 117 “Philippines wants fishing agreement in S. China Sea”, Reuters (4 September 2007) at http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=9633.
  • 32. 33 CHAPTER FOUR The Taiwan Factor in Philippines-China Security Relations Introduction Though Philippines-China security relations have gone a long way since the establishment of their diplomatic ties in 1975, both countries continue to confront the perennial challenge of Taiwan. Every now and then, the issue of Taiwan surfaces in Philippines’ relations with China causing some irritants and occasional hiccups in their bilateral ties. In fact, the Taiwan issue is a major source of China’s security dilemma when dealing with other nations.118 While the Philippines upholds a “One-China Policy”, it maintains its relations with Taiwan in economic, social and cultural realms. There was even an allegation that the Philippines has discreet security ties with Taiwan making China suspicious of Manila’s strategic intention in the Cross Strait conflict.119 This chapter examines the issue of Taiwan as a factor in Philippines-China security relations. It describes Philippines-Taiwan security relations after 9/11 and how these relations have affected the direction of Philippines-China security relations. Background on Philippines-Taiwan Relation120 Prior to the establishment of Philippines’ relations with the People’s Republic of China (PROC), the Philippines first had a diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (ROC). When the Philippines became an independent republic in 1946, the very first Treaty of Amity it ever entered into was with the ROC, and then called by the Philippine government as the Nationalist China. Establishing diplomatic relations with the ROC was considered to be a top foreign policy priority of then President Manuel Roxas.121 As reciprocation, the ROC, on the other hand, was one of the first countries to recognize the Philippines as an independent republic. Common historical experience during the war, geographic proximity and cultural familiarity were identified to be the crucial factors that strongly encouraged the Philippines to establish close ties with Taiwan. During the 3 October 1946 presentation of credentials of Chen Chih-ping, the first Chinese 118 Sheng Lijun, China’s Dilemma: The Taiwan Issue (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2001). 119 Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, An Overview on Taiwan: Its Relations with RP and Key National Developments (Quezon City: Armed Forces of the Philippines, January 2004). 120 This section is a revised version of Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Philippine-Taiwan Security Relations in the Context of Philippine One-China Policy: Current Situation and Future Trends” in his Security Aspects of Philippines-China Relations: Bilateral Issues and Concerns in the Age of Global Terrorism (Quezon City: Rex Book Store International, 2007), Chapter 11. 121 Milton Walter Meyer, A Diplomatic History of the Philippine Republic (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1965), p. 60.
  • 33. 34 ambassador to the Philippines, President Roxas stressed that the Philippines and China had common ties due to geographic propinquity, a mutual wartime cause, and Chinese contribution through industry and thrift over the centuries to Philippine economic life.122 But the negotiations on Philippine-Chinese treaty of friendship were not easy. Negotiations were stormy and surrounded with controversies because of some domestic considerations. But both countries finally signed the treaty on 18 April 1947, which provided that “the nationals of each country were at liberty to enter or leave, to travel or reside in, the territory of the other upon the same terms as the nationals of any third country in accordance with domestic laws and regulations.”123 With the signing of the Treaty of Amity between the Republic of the Philippines (RP) and the ROC, Manila established its Consulates General Office in Amoy and Shanghai in 1947. To strengthen RP-ROC diplomatic ties, the Philippines opened a legation in Nanking in March 1948 with Senator Proceso Sebastian as the first Philippine ambassador to Nationalist China.124 But the Philippine Legation was short-lived because of domestic political changes in China. When Mao Tse Tung proclaimed the PROC in 1949, the Philippines closed its legation in Nanking, established a liaison office in Guangzhou and in 1950 finally transferred to Taipei. The establishment of a communist government in Mainland China posed two major problems for the Philippine government. The first problem was internal: increased control over Chinese immigration. The second problem was external: recognition of a communist regime. On the first problem, the Philippine government, having adopted a staunch anti-communism policy, decisively prohibited Chinese immigration and banned travel to or from Mainland China.125 While being very strict with anything related with PROC, the Philippine government pursued strong diplomatic and economic relations with Taiwan. The Philippine government signed a trade agreement with Taiwan and even intensified exchange of specialists and information leading to the development of a very close ideological and economic partnership with ROC. In 1956, the Philippine government raised the legation in Taipei to embassy level. The establishment of a Philippine Embassy in Taiwan clearly demonstrated the interest of the Philippine government to have strong economic and political partnership with the Nationalist China. Being both security allies of the United States, the Philippines and Taiwan also established security relations. Military officers from the Philippines and Taiwan had regular exchanges. Taiwan’s War College inspired the establishment of the National Defense College of the Philippines in 1963. Both countries also 122 Ibid. 123 Ibid. 124 Jose Ingles, Philippine Foreign Policy (Manila: Lyceum of the Philippines Press, 1982), p. 141. 125 Benito Lim, “The Political Economy of the Philippines-China Relations” (Paper prepared for the Conference on China’s Economic Growth and Its Implications to the ASEAN held at Ateneo de Manila University, 16 November 1999), p. 6.
  • 34. 35 established regular exchanges of military officers and even intelligence information. On the second problem, the Philippine government attempted not to get entangled with Beijing-Taipei conflict. During the administration of former President Elpidio Quirino, the Philippine government did not explicitly take an anti-communism posture. But the establishment of Philippine Embassy in Taiwan was a lucid expression of Manila’s political leaning with Taipei. Philippine support of democratic and nationalist China represented by ROC was revealed as early as 1951 when the Philippines signed a Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States. The MDT was an anti-Communist treaty that aimed to deter communist expansionism in Asia. When the Philippines became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), then President Ramon Magsaysay declared support to the US commitment to the defense of “Formosa” against communist China.126 Succeeding Philippine presidents (Carlos Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal) pursued a more vigorous anti- Communist foreign policy. It was only during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos when the Philippine government considered establishing diplomatic relations with communist countries for economic, strategic and security reasons. On 9 June 1975, the Philippines formally established diplomatic relations with PROC and proclaimed a one-China policy treating Taiwan as a province of China. In October 1975, the Philippines established an embassy in Beijing. Since then, Philippine-China diplomatic relation has become one of the most important bilateral relations of the Philippines with foreign countries. Thereafter, both countries have entered into various cooperation agreements covering wide- ranging areas like trade and investment; tourism and air services; cultural, scientific and technical cooperation; agricultural cooperation; avoidance of double taxation; postal parcel agreement; and even defense cooperation.127 As result, Philippine relations with Taiwan were officially downgraded. Though upholding a one-China policy, the Philippines continues to have substantial relations with Taiwan. Philippines’ one-China policy does not prohibit commercial, economic, cultural and other unofficial or people-to-people contacts with Taiwan. To continue their relations in these areas, the Philippine government converted its embassy in Taipei into Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO). Taiwan, on the other hand, converted its embassy in the Philippines into Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO). 126 Cited in Aileen San Pablo Baviera, “Philippines-China Relations in the 20th Century: History Versus Strategy”, Asian Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2 (2000), p. 57. 127 Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Philippine-China Defense Relations: Sustaining Friendship, Enhancing Cooperation?” (Paper presented at the Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 19 April 2004).
  • 35. 36 Philippine-Taiwan Security Relations After 9/11 From 1975 to 2001, the Philippines was bound to implement a “One-China Policy”. But during this entire period, the Philippines retained its ties with Taiwan and the issue of Taiwan caused occasional irritants in Philippines-China relations. This state of affairs did not change after 9/11. Though the Philippines and China cautiously enhanced their bilateral ties after 9/11,128 pro- Taipei lobby in Manila (particularly those associated with Taiwan Association, Inc. in the Philippines) made it burdensome for the Philippine government to just put Taiwan aside. Since 9/11, Philippine-Taiwan interactions in the area of agriculture, commerce, culture, education, and sports have been very vibrant. Amidst the growing relations between the Philippines and China, Philippines relations with Taiwan have also grown steadily after 9/11. Taiwanese tourists to the Philippines amounted to 1 12,206 sharing 4.3% of the total foreign visitors, making Taiwan the 6th largest tourist source country in 2007. 129 Taiwan is also one of the major destinations countries for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). In 2007 alone, Taiwan is the Philippines’ 5th top overseas labor market with more than 100,000 Filipino workers and migrants in Taiwan. It has also been recorded that the Filipino workers in Taiwan was the second largest workforce in 2007 and that the annual remittance from Filipino workers in Taiwan can be amounted to US$1 billion.130 This prompted former Trade and Industry Secretary Cesar V. Purisima to call for stronger Philippines-Taiwan relations.131 Filipinos workers in Taiwan and the undocumented (runaway, overstay, etc.) As of November 2006 Year Filipinos Undocumented 2001 72,779 2002 69,426 643 2003 81,355 873 2004 91,150 1,177 2005 95,703 1,543 2006 91,442 1,023 Source: Employment and Vocational Training Administration (EVTA), CLA; Romeo Velos, “Situation of Filipino Migrant Workers in Taiwan” (2007) at http://www.catholic.org.tw/catholic/inn- 6.htm 128 Carl Baker, “China-Philippines Relations: Cautious Cooperation” in Satu Limaye (ed), Asia’s Bilateral Relations (Honolulu: Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, 2004), Chapter 2. 129 Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, “Bilateral Relations Between Taiwan and the Philippines” at http://www.taiwanoffice.org.ph/erelation.htm. 130 Ibid. 131 Department of Trade and Industry, “Purisima Calls for Stronger RP-Taiwan Relations” at http://www.iro.ph/downloads/pressrelease/11-04-rp-taiwan.pdf.
  • 36. 37 Breakdown of Filipino Workers in Taiwan As of November 2006 Area Filipino workers Area Filipino workers Area Filipino workers Northern Taiwan 56,632Central Taiwan 23,268Southern Taiwan 16,412 Taipei city 10,007Miaoli county 2,774Chiayi city 463 Taipei county 10,078Taichung city 3,293Chiayi county 833 Taoyuan county 21,586Taichung county 6,823Tainan city 1,154 Hsinchu city 5,641Changhua county 8,427Tainan county 3,404 Hsinchu county 6,914Nantou county 630Kaohsiung city 6,232 Keeling city 513Yunlin county 2,321Kaohsiung county 2,872 Ilan county 1,152 Pingtung county 1,132 Hualien county 741 Taitung county 215 Penghu county 85 Kinmen county 16 Lian jiang county 6 Source: Employment and Vocational Training Administration (EVTA), CLA; ; Romeo Velos, “Situation of Filipino Migrant Workers in Taiwan” (2007) at http://www.catholic.org.tw/catholic/inn-6.htm One project that aims to cement a stronger Philippines-Taiwan relation is the Kaohsiung-Subic Bay-Clark Economic Corridor Project. Designed in 2006, the Kaohsiung-Subic Bay-Clark Economic Corridor Project has been described as a giant step towards the strengthening of Philippines-Taiwan relations in the post-9/11 era. According to Armand Arreza, Administrator and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the Kaohsiung-Subic Bay-Clark Economic Corridor Project will allow Taiwan and the Philippines to vigorously build upon their already successful trade relations and create a win-win situation.132 Arreza reported that there are more than 45 Taiwanese locators in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone accounting for more than 80 percent of the zone's export value. He argues that “the establishment of the corridor is expected to resolve some issues that have concerned Taiwanese companies and make Subic Bay attractive again.”133 132 “Corridor to Strengthen Philippines-Taiwan Economic Ties: Official”, Channel News Asia (5 May 2007) at http://faddz.blogspot.com/2007/05/corridor-to-strengthen-taiwan.html. 133 Ibid.
  • 37. 38 For the Philippines, continuously engaging Taiwan is an economic necessity considering that Taipei is one of Manila’s main trading partners in the world. In 2007, for example, Taiwan was the No. 6 trading partner to the Philippines. For Taiwan, Manila is its No. 14 trading partner.134 The facts and figures below are clear indications of Taiwan’s economic importance to the Philippines: Taiwan-Philippine bilateral trade volume reached US$7.199 billion in 2007. Taiwan was the N0.6 trading partner to the Philippines, while the Philippines was ranked the 14th important trading partner to Taiwan. The aggregated investment value from Taiwan up to 2007 amounted to US$1.82 billion, and is the 7th largest foreign investment in the Philippines, just after Japan, USA, U.K., Netherlands, Singapore and South Korea.135 With these economic figures, it is therefore difficult for the Philippines to isolate Taiwan in its economic and foreign policy agenda, particularly in the context of Manila’s pursuance of “development diplomacy”. There is even a talk of free trade arrangements between the Philippines and Taiwan to strengthen their economic relations. According to David Hong, president of Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), a free trade agreement “would make both markets more accessible to each other, increase investment flow and create stronger incentives for Taiwan companies to do business in the Philippines."136 It was argued, “As Taiwan and the Philippines are both members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), no diplomatic ties are needed for both countries to sign a free trade agreement, he said, adding the establishment of free trade — exchange of products without barriers such as tariffs and quotas — between Taiwan and the Philippines would only lead to a win-win situation for both.”137 Aside from vibrant economic relations, the tie that also binds the Philippines and Taiwan in the post-9/11 world is their common adherence to democratic political system. Though the countries have different experiences in their democratization processes, they have shared a number of similarities “including constitutional amendments, bolstering political participation, restructuring political dominance, and more guarantees for the protection of individual rights.”138 Adherence to common democratic principles provides a strong political bridge between the Philippines and Taiwan to sustain their bilateral ties. 134 Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, “Bilateral Relations Between Taiwan and the Philippines” at http://www.taiwanoffice.org.ph/erelation.htm. 135 Ibid. 136 William C. Pao, “Taiwan and Philippines to benefit from FTA, TIER president says”, The China Post (1 October 2005). 137 Ibid. 138 Samuel C.Y. Ku, “Political Democratization and Political Crises in Taiwan and the Philippines: A Comparative Perspective”, Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia, vol. 7, no.1 (March 2008), pp. 5-18.
  • 38. 39 Strong security relations with the US also bring the Philippines and Taiwan closer. Washington has Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the Manila and Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) with Taipei. On the basis of the TRA, Pentagon sells hi-tech military weapons to Taiwan. Based on MDT, on the other hand, the US also sells weapons and even provides the Philippines military assistance. With TRA and MDT, the US provides a strong strategic link for Taiwan and the Philippines to cooperate. Lastly, geographic proximity inevitably put Taiwan and the Philippines in the same strategic space. There is an old saying in the Philippines that when a cock crows in Taiwan, it is heard faintly in the picturesque Philippine province of Batanes. This saying underscores the proximity of Taiwan to the Philippines.139 Because of geographic proximity, Taiwan has also become one of the most favored destinations of OFWs. But geographic proximity also causes some security concerns in the Philippines.140 Its foremost security concern with Taiwan is the possibility of military conflict in the controversial Taiwan Strait.141 According to an intelligence analysis, “Given the proximity to Taiwan to RP, any conflict may spill over to Philippine territory as it may be a possible destination of refugees.”142 Vibrant Philippine-Taiwan relations also have security aspects. Though both are not allowed to relate with each other in security fields, their respective security officials also have “unofficial” communications. The plan of the Philippine Air Force to purchase F-5s from Taiwan was an indication of the existing communication links between the two countries’ security officials. Taiwan Challenge in Philippines-China Security Relations143 Despite the improvement of Philippines-China security relations in the aftermath of 9/11, the Taiwan issue still poses a formidable challenge in the stable security relations between China and the Philippines. It is even called “The Taiwan Problem” to emphasize the utmost security dilemma of both countries in grappling with the issue. The Taiwan problem, if not properly addressed, can severely affect the direction of Philippines-China security relations. It was even raised by an 139 Banlaoi, “Philippine-Taiwan Security Relations in the Context of Philippine One-China Policy: Current Situation and Future Trends” in his Security Aspects of Philippines-China Relations: Bilateral Issues and Concerns in the Age of Global Terrorism, op. cit. 140 Ibid. 141 Ibid. 142 Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, “Answers to Interview Questionaire Guide on the Implications of a China-Taiwan Conflict” (A confidential document dated July 2004), p. 1. 143 This section is based on the paper of Rommel C. Banlaoi presented to the International Conference on the 30 Years of Philippines-China Relations, “Charting New Directions in a Changing Global Environment” on 22 October 2005 at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, Ortigas Center.
  • 39. 40 American security analyst, “By reinvigorating its military alliance with the United States, the Philippines may be in the undesirable position of having to choose between security cooperation with the United States and economic cooperation with China in the event of a confrontation between the two over Taiwan. The Philippines hopes to avoid having to make such a choice.”144 The dilemma of the Philippine government on the Taiwan problem is confounded by the fact that “there remains an influential group within the Philippines’ political elite, especially in the Senate, that is committed to establishing ties with Taiwan for a combination of ideological or personal economic reasons.”145 Because of the problem in the Taiwan straits, the Philippines is pursuing a very cautious relations with the PROC. 146 Summary and Conclusion The Philippines upholds the One-China Policy, which recognizes PROC sovereignty over Taiwan. But the Philippines continues to have cultural, economic, and social ties with Taiwan. Philippine relations with Taiwan are also strengthened not only by cultural, economic and social imperatives but also by geographic proximity, democratic political systems and strategic ties with the US. Because of these factors, Taiwan ties with the Philippines have spill-over effects on security areas. This situation creates irritants in Philippines-China security relations. If not handled properly, the Taiwan issue can serve a great obstacle in the enhancement of Philippines-China security relations – a great challenge that both countries have to confront now and in the future. 144 Baker, “China-Philippines Relations: Cautious Cooperation”, op. cit. 145 Ibid. 146 Ibid.
  • 40. 41 CHAPTER FIVE Philippine Foreign and Security Policy Towards China in the Post-9/11 World: Current Realities and Future Prospects Introduction Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States (US), the Philippines has been undergoing a serious reexamination of its foreign and security policy in order to advance the country’s national interests amidst the complexities of the global and regional security environment. This inevitably entails a comprehensive assessment of its bilateral relations with major powers whose influence in world politics have profound impacts on the foreign and security policy of other states. One of the major powers that matter most to the Philippines is China, a rapidly growing Asian power and an emerging global power. This paper describes Philippine foreign and security policy towards China in the post-9/11 security environment. It examines the role of China in Philippine foreign and security policy and describes the current realities and future prospects in Philippines-China security relations, particularly in the context of the election of American President Barack Obama. The Post-9/11 Philippine Foreign and Security Policy The Philippine government officially adopted a post-911 foreign and security policy anchored on three pillars.147 First is the preservation and enhancement of Philippine national security, which is the heart of the nation’s overall political diplomacy. Second is the promotion and attainment of economic security through the mobilization of external resources for economic advancement and social development. Third is the protection of the rights and the promotion of the welfare and interests of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The Philippine government considers these three pillars highly interrelated as they mutually reinforce each other and give substantive content to Philippine foreign relations.148 On the basis of these three pillars, the Philippine government enunciated a foreign and security policy based on what it calls the “eight realities in the global and regional environment”. These realities are the following: 147 Alberto G. Romulo, “Philippine Foreign Policy Realities”, (Speech delivered at the Manila Overseas Press Club Diplomatic Night at Philippine Plaza Hotel on 17 September 2004). 148 Ibid.
  • 41. 42 1. China, Japan and the United States have a determining influence in the security situation and economic evolution of East Asia. 2. More and more Philippine foreign policy decisions have to be made in the context of the ASEAN. 3. The International Islamic Community will become more and more important to the Philippines. 4. The coming years will see the redefinition of the role of multilateral and inter-regional organizations in promoting common interest. 5. The defense of the nation’s sovereignty, the protection of its environment, and natural resources can be carried out only to the extent that we get others to respect our rights over our maritime territory. 6. The country’s economic growth will continue to require direct foreign investment — and relations with the EU, the largest source of portfolio investments — will remain important. 7. A country like the Philippines can benefit most quickly from international tourism. 8. Filipinos overseas will continue to play a critical role in the country’s economic and social stability.149 Apparent from these eight realities of Philippine foreign and security policy is the official recognition of China as one of the major powers that can strongly shape the global security landscape. Though the Philippine government regards China as a formidable major power that can affect the behavior of other countries, Philippine foreign and security policy has been largely determined by its existing security alliance with the US. Philippine security relation with the US, in fact, largely influences the conduct of Philippines external affairs. Though there is a serious attempt on the part of Manila to diversify its relations with other nations, particularly in the post-cold war era, American security policy towards the Philippines continues to affect the foreign policy behavior of the Philippine government. Since 1946, the cornerstone of Philippine foreign and security policy has been its treaty alliance with the US cemented by the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) signed in 1951. Thus, understanding Philippine foreign and security policy is incomplete without taking into account Philippine-American security alliance, which is the only alliance that the Philippines has with other sovereign states. It has been demonstrated in various scholarly literature that the security alliance between the US and the Philippines is forged as a result of shared historical experience, security convergence and common adherence to 149 President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, “Eight Realities of Philippine Foreign Policy” (Speech delivered at the Manila Overseas Press Club on 6 August 2004). One China Policy is acknowledged External security remains with the US
  • 42. 43 democratic principles.150 These factors continue cement Philippine-American security relations in the post-911 era. Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo even emphasized that the enduring strategic alliance between the Philippines and the US is bound by common interests. Romulo exclaimed that the “The common interests of the Philippines and the US bind us to protect and help preserve the peace and security of our region. We are strategic and treaty partners.”151 He also emphasized that “The bonds of friendship between the Philippines and the United States are enduring. Those bonds have been forged in the battlefields of freedom, in the foxholes of Bataan and Corregidor, by thousands of brave and courageous soldiers who fought and died together for their beliefs and ideals.”152 Though Philippine-American security relations experienced a decade-long hiatus with the termination of Military Bases Agreement (MBA) in 1991, which consequently led to the withdrawal of American troops from the Philippines, support to the American-led global war on terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11 resulted in the reinvigoration of Philippine-American security relations.153 Romulo underscored that “our strategic alliance with the United States in the war against global terrorism remains vital to our national security.”154 Thus, the war on terrorism after 9/11 revived the once-ailing Philippine- security alliance. Because of its staunch support to the global war on terrorism, the US designated the Philippines as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) in 2003.155 While the MNNA status does not guarantee automatic retaliation in case of external aggression, it allows both countries “to work together on military research and development, and give the Philippines greater access to American defense equipment and supplies".156 The MNNA status also gave the Philippines assurances of military assistance in order to bolster the capability of the Philippine armed forces to combat terrorism and other threats to internal security. 150 See Bonifacio S. Salamanca, “The Beginning of Filipino-American Relations, 1901-1921,” American Historical Collection Bulletin, Vol. III, No. 3 (October 1975); Enrique Voltaire Garcia III, U.S. Military Bases in the Philippines: Impact on Philippine-American Relations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967) and Eduardo Z. Romualdez, A Question of Sovereignty: The Military Bases and Philippine-American Relations, 1944-1979 (Manila, 1980). 151 Romulo, “Philippine Foreign Policy Realities”, op. cit. 152 Alberto G. Romulo, “Let us Work for Peace” (Inaugural Speech as Foreign Affairs Secretary delivered on 23 August 2004). 153 Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Role of Philippine-American Relations in the Global Campaign Against Terrorism: Implications for Regional Security”, Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 24, no. 2 (August 2002), pp. 294-312. 154 Romulo, “Let us Work for Peace”, op. cit. 155 The White House, “Designation of the Philippines as Major Non-NATO Ally” at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/janqtr/pdf/3CFROct6.pdf. 156 Jim Garamone, “Philippines to Become Major non-NATO Ally, Bush Says”, American Forces Press Service (19 May 2003) at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=28968.
  • 43. 44 However, the Philippines suffered a foreign policy crisis in 2004 when the Philippine government withdrew its peacekeeping forces from Iraq in exchange of the freedom of Angelo de la Cruz, an OFW held hostage by Iraqi militants. The withdrawal of Philippine troops earlier than scheduled created a serious dent in Philippine-American security relations in the post-9/11 period.157 For the American government, the withdrawal of Filipino troops was a tantamount betrayal of Philippine commitments in its security alliance with the US and in the global campaign against terrorism. International press opinions disseminated by the International Information Programs of the US Department of State expressed that the troop pullout was a “grave mistake, “a “setback for global politics” and a “pact with the devil.”158 Thus, the Philippines received a cold treatment from the US after the withdrawal. But former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in a televised national address, cautiously explained, ''I made a decision to bring our troops home a few days early in order to spare the life of Angelo. I do not regret that decision.'' For President Arroyo, dela Cruz represented the aspiration of around eight million OFWs who are seeking hope and opportunities abroad. Remittances from OFWs are major sources of the country’s foreign currencies amounting to around US$10 billion annually. The Philippine government regarded the troop pullout as a wise decision to save the life of dela Cruz, which the government considered as an integral part in advancing Philippine national interests by protecting the welfare of OFWs, the third pillar of Philippine foreign policy. To assuage the concern of the US that the Philippines is renege of its commitment to the security alliance and to the war on terror, the Philippine government made a series of dialogues with its American counterparts in order to explain Philippine decision to withdraw its troops. The Philippine government convinced the US that the troop pullout was a reaction to domestic political considerations that have bearing with the survival of the political regime in power. From the foregoing, Philippine foreign and security policy in the post- 9/11 era has been largely influenced by its alliance with the US. Though the Philippine government is also placing high premium on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the cornerstone of its regional policy and pays attention to international Islamic community as well as other multilateral bodies as part of its international engagement “strategy”, its bilateral security policy continues to be largely shaped and influenced by its relations with the US. There is even a view that Philippine foreign and security policy has a built-in bias towards the US because of the countries’ existing treaty alliance. The war 157 Mely Caballero Anthony, “Beyond the Iraq Hostage Crisis: Re-Assessing US-Philippines Relations”, IDSS Commentaries (28 July 2004). Also see Third World Studies Center, “Hostaged? Philippine Foreign Policy After Angelo dela Cruz”, Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, vol. 19, no. 1 (2004), pp. 113-141. 158 US Department of State, International Information Programs, “Iraq: Troop Withdrawal A Grave Mistake” at http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2004/07/wwwh40728.htm
  • 44. 45 against terrorism launched by President George W. Bush provided the Philippines and the US enormous opportunities to revitalize their security alliance in the post-9/11 world.159 President Barack Obama also intends to continue its support to the Philippines within the framework of treaty alliance. The rejuvenation of their alliance after 9/11 opened channels for the Philippines to receive American security assistance to promote their mutual interests, particularly in building the capacity of the Philippine military in combating terrorism.160 The US also currently provides support to Philippine Defense Reform (PDR) program, which aims to provide a framework for introducing a comprehensive, institutional, structural and systemic reform package at the strategic level for the Philippine defense and military establishment.161 Increased American security assistance to the Philippines also resulted in increased American presence in the archipelago, particularly in Mindanao. Though it was viewed in the US in 1991 that American presence162 in the Philippines was expensive and unnecessary,163 after 9/11, American presence is perceived to be important in supporting US Naval forward presence in the Asia Pacific.164 Since January 2002, around 1,000 American soldiers are being maintained in the Philippines to join in the annual military exercises with their Filipino counterparts. The US organized the Joint Special Operations Task Force- Philippines (JSOTF-P) in Zamboanga City to serve as its “forward operating base” for crisis response and deployment. Critics of American presence in the Philippines accuse JSOTF-P of being engaged in an offensive war in Mindanao to crush the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other foreign military jihadists.165 159 For more analysis, see Renato Cruz de Castro, “The Revitalized Philippine-US Security Relations: A Ghost from the Cold War or an Alliance for the 21st Century”, Asian Survey, vol. 43, no. 6 (November/December 2003), pp. 971-988. 160 See Noel M. Morada, “Philippine-American Security Relations After 11 September: Exploring the Mutuality of Interests in the Fight Against International Terrorism”, Southeast Asian Affairs (January 2003), pp. 228-238. 161 For a brief but very useful overview and snapshot of the Philippine Defense Reform program, see Department of National Defense, “Philippine Defense Reform Program (PDR)” at http://www.dnd.gov.ph/DNDWEBPAGE_files/html/pdrpage.htm. 162 For a historical account of American presence in the Southern Philippines, see Patricio Abinales, “American Military Presence in the Southern Philippines: A Comparative Historical Overview”, East West Center Working Papers, No. 7 (October 2004). 163 Ted Carpenter, “The U.S. Military Presence in the Philippines: Expensive and Unnecessary”, CATO Institute Foreign Policy Briefing, No. 12 (19 July 1991), p. 1. 164 Thomas J. Garcia, “The Potential Role of the Philippines in U.S. Naval Forward Presence” (Thesis: Naval Postgraduate School, December 2001). 165 See Herbert Docena, Unconventional Warfare: Are US Special Forces Engaged in an Offensive War in the Philippines (Quezon City: Focus on the Global South Philippines Program, 2007).
  • 45. 46 Others also claim that the US establishes military presence in the Philippines to check the growing influence of China in Southeast Asia.166 China in Philippine Foreign and Security Policy There is no doubt that China is the fastest growing major power in the Asia Pacific. Thus, the Philippine government also comprehensively engages China while maintaining its alliance with the US.167 Though the aftermath of 9/11 saw the rejuvenation of Philippine-American security relations, the period also provided opportunities for China and the Philippines to sustain their friendship and enhance their cooperation. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) even contends that “It is strategically fundamental for the Philippines to develop a healthy, far-reaching and comprehensive relationship with China”.168 The Policy Paper on China made by the DFA in the aftermath of 9/11 also recommended to “engage China and enhance relations in all aspects.”169 Scholars of international relations call this a “hedging” strategy.170 But the Philippines does not have yet a coherent hedging strategy towards China. It has also been observed that “the Philippine policy elite’s views on China remain inconsistent, and its policy response ad hoc. There is no agreement on the implications of China’s growing regional influence or, apparently, serious thought on how the Philippines might hedge instead of balance against Chinese economic and military power in the future.”171 In the Eight Foreign Policy Realities of the Philippine government, China is identified as an influential power that can shape the Asian security landscape. China, in fact, looms very large in the Asian strategic debate. China, therefore, also occupies a very significant space in the post-9/11 foreign and security policy agenda of the Philippine government. 166 See Elizabeth Economy, “China’s Rise in Southeast Asia: Implications for the United States”, Journal of Contemporary China, vol. 14, no. 44 (2005), pp. 409-425; Lyall Breckon and H.J. Kenny, China’s Growing Presence in Southeast Asia: Implications for the United States (Alexandria, VA: Project Asia, Center for Naval Analyses, April 2004); Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Southeast Asian Perspectives on the Rise of China: Regional Security After 9/11”, Parameters (Summer 2003), pp. 98-107; and, Wayne Bert, The United States, China and Southeast Asian Security: A Changing of the Guard? (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003). 167 For an excellent analysis of Philippine efforts to comprehensively engage China before 9/11, see Aileen S.P. Baviera, Strategic Issues in Philippines-China Relations: Comprehensive Engagement (Manila: Philippine-China Development Resource Center, 2000). 168 Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines-China Agreements, 1975-2005: Bridges Towards the Golden Age of Partnership (Beijing: Philippine Embassy, 2005). 169 Department of Foreign Affairs, Policy Paper on China (Pasay City: DFA Office of Policy Planning and Coordination, October 2001). 170 See Evan S. Medeiros, “Strategic Hedging and the Future of Asia Pacific Stability”, The Washington Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 1 (Winter 2005-2006), pp. 145-167 snf John J. Tkacik, Jr., “Hedging Against China”, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, no. 1925 (17 April 2006). 171 Bronson Percival, The Dragon Looks South: China and Southeast Asia in the New Century (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2007), p. 69.
  • 46. 47 There are four factors why China matters significantly in Philippine foreign and security policy: 1) Historical legacy; 2) Geographic proximity; 3) Cultural familiarity; 4) Economic activity; and 4) Political expediency. Historical legacy. Prior to becoming a member of the state now known as the Philippines, several islands of the archipelago already established relations with China. As early as 972 AD, the first emperor of the Sung Dynasty set-up a maritime trade office in the Philippine island of Mindoro (rendered in Chinese as Ma-i).172 In 1001, the pre-colonial island of Butuan (rendered in Chinese as P’u- tuan) had a commercial contact with the Sung Dynasty.173 In the 16th century, the Sultan of Sulu visited China to pay tribute to Chinese monarch. During the Spanish period, some Chinese businessmen migrated to the Philippines where they married some locals. As a result of mixed marriages, ethnic Chinese played an integral part in the development of Philippine nationalism. Filipino-Chinese leaders fought against the Spaniard during the revolutionary period and against the Japanese colonial forces during the Second World War.174 This shared historical experience makes China and the Philippines familiar with each other. Geographic proximity. The total distance between the Philippines and China is only 1,850 miles or 2,978 kilometers separated only by a strip of water called the South China Sea. Thus, they are close and not distant neighbors, much closer than the distance between the Philippines and the US, which is separated by a vast Pacific Ocean. The close distance between the two countries facilitated trade relations during the pre-colonial times. Strategically, China regards the Philippines as significant because of its geographic proximity to southern China, particularly Hong Kong-Macau and Taiwan, and vice versa. Cultural familiarity. Common historical legacy and geographic proximity also facilitated cultural familiarity between the Philippines and China. With the presence of around 1.2 million Filipino-Chinese community,175 which is one of the largest ethnic Filipino groups in the country, the Philippines becomes very familiar with Chinese culture and tradition. This alone provides the two countries some levels of comforts with each other necessary for diplomatic relations. Economic activity. Economic considerations also lure the Philippines to constructively relate with China. Since its economic opening in 1979, China has been enjoying an average economic growth rate of 9 percent. This economic 172 Mindoro is located at southwest of Luzon, and northeast of Palawan. In past times, it has been called Ma-i or Mait by ancient Chinese traders and, by Spaniards, as Mina de Oro (meaning "gold mine") from where the island got its current name. 173 Butuan is located the Northeastern part of Agusan Valley sprawling accross the Agusan River. 174 See Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Philippines-China Defense Relations in the Age of Terrorism: Implications for Philippine National Security” in Security Aspects of Philippines-China Relations: Bilateral Issues and Concerns in the Age of Global Terrorism (Quezon City: Rex Book Store International, 2007), p. 175 This figure however does not include the Chinese mestizos who since Spanish times have formed the middle class in Philippine society nor does it include Chinese immigrants from the People's Republic of China since 1949. See “Chinese Filipino” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Filipino.
  • 47. 48 boom has prompted my analysts to argue that by 2020, it will be the second largest economy in the world, next to US, and may even surpass the economic status of the US by 2050. Thus, the Philippine pursues a foreign and security policy to comprehensively engage China in order to take advantage of its economic prosperity. There is a view in the Philippines that the economic rise of China may spillover to the Philippines through bilateral trade and investments. After 9/11, their two-way trade has expanded by ten fold from $3.14 billion in 2000. According to Chinese Embassy in Manila, the 2007 trade volume surpassed the $30 billion goal for 2010 that was set in 2005 when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the Philippines.176 However, Philippines-China bilateral trade is still small compared to the trade volume with other countries in Southeast Asia.177 Political expediency. Post-9/11 Philippine foreign and security policy towards China is dictated by political expediency. The Philippines exerts conscious efforts to be in good political terms with China not only because it is a rapidly growing power but also because of the consideration that is more risky and costly to the Philippines not to be in good terms with China. Being in good terms with China can also increase the prospects of better commercial ties and more development assistance. It can also increase Philippine efforts to leverage with the US and to manage its existing maritime territorial disputes with China. Current Realities Though China is an integral part of Philippine foreign and security policy, there are realities of global politics that prevent China and the Philippines to get much closer. The first reality is the American factor. As stated earlier, the Philippines continues to value it strategic alliance with the US, which was established after the Second World War. This alliance requires that Philippine comprehensive engagement with China shall not compromise its security relations with the US. More of China in Philippine foreign affairs shall not mean less of the US. In fact, Philippine alliance with Washington limits the scope and level of Manila’s comprehensive engagement with Beijing. As long there is a treaty alliance between Washington and Manila, American troops are bound to stay in the Philippines. President Obama even promises to maintain American presence in the Philippines, to support the Philippine Defense Reform program and to assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in building its capability to address its multifaceted security challenges. According to US Ambassador to the 176 “Trade between Philippines, Chinese mainland hits record high”, China Daily (January 28, 2008) at http://chinadaily.cn/bizchina/2008-01/25/content_6421890.htm. 177 Aileen Baviera, “The Political Economy of China’s Relations with Southeast Asia” in Ellen Palanca, ed., China’s Economic Growth and the ASEAN (Quezon City: Philippine APEC Study Center Network, 2001), p. 249.
  • 48. 49 Philippines, Kristie Kenney, and the US does not have the intention of withdrawing its military forces in the Philippines under the Obama Presidency. But it is the prerogative of the Philippine government to suggest if it needs more or less American presence in the Philippines. The Obama Presidency also pledges to continue its security assistance to the Philippines as part of Washington’s commitment to support its allies in Asia. China has always viewed the presence of American troops in the Philippines as part of the strategy of Pentagon to contain China. Officials in Beijing developed this view as a result of various studies in the US that the rise of China has profound implications for American security, thus the need to check China’s growing power.178 The Philippines continues to be an integral part of American web of bilateral security alliance in Asia, which originally aimed to deter communist expansionism. This reality creates a boundary in Philippines- China relations. The second reality is the South China Sea factor. The Philippines and China are still languishing with the unresolved maritime territorial disputes in the Spratlys. Though both are signatories to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which aims to uphold a peaceful management of disputes in the area, they continue to mistrust each other on the issue. The controversy surrounding the implementation of Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) is an indication that Spratly dispute creates fragility in Philippines-China relations. The third reality is the Taiwan factor. Though the Philippines pursues a “One-China” policy, which regards Taiwan as the province of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Manila still has active commercial and discreet political and security relations with Taipei. In 2006 alone, trade between Taiwan and the Philippines increased by 1.97% to about US$7.26 billion. The Taiwan’s Government Office (GIO) reported that Taipei imported from the Philippines (including re-imports) goods worth $2.78 billion and exported to the Philippines (including re-exports) commodities worth $4.48 billion in 2006. Taiwan has become the Philippines’ 13th largest trading partner in 2006, 11th largest destination of Taiwanese exports with 2% of total outbound cargoes valued at $224 billion, the 5th largest trade partner among developing countries after Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Indonesia, and the 16th largest source of Taiwan’s import. 179 Strategic relations with the US and common liberal 178 Elizabeth Economy, “China’s Rise in Southeast Asia: Implications for the United States”, Journal of Contemporary China, vol. 14, no. 44 (August 2005), pp. 409-425. Also see Robert G. Sutter, “China’s Rise in Asia: Promises, Prospects and Implications for the United States”, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies Occasional Paper (February 2005); and, Zalmay Khalilzad, Abram N. Shulsky, Daniel Byman, Roger Cliff, D. Orletsky, David A. Shlapak, Ashley J. Tellis, The United States and a Rising China (Santa Monica, California: RAND, 1999). 179 See Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in The Philippines, The Philippines-Taiwan Trade Growth up http://wwwdoc.trade.gov.tw/BOFT/web/report_detail.jsp?data_base_id=DB011&category_id= CAT3307&report_id=127840.
  • 49. 50 democratic systems facilitate Philippines-Taiwan relations. But Philippine relations with Taiwan are continuing sources of irritants between Manila and Beijing. China is too sensitive with the issue of Taiwan and this issue always generates animosities with its neighbors. The fourth reality is their different political systems. The Philippines and China have two different domestic political realities that affect the conduct of their foreign relations. Their divergent political systems also create two different foreign-policy making processes that can affect the enhancement of their bilateral relations. The ZTE scandal (the cancellation of a national broadband network project in the Philippines with China-based company) is an example of how differences in their bureaucratic systems can affect their economic ties. According to a ZTE official, the scandal “certainly brings unforeseeable negative influence on bilateral economic co-operations between China and Philippines."180 It is also argued that the controversy would harm trade relations between China and the Philippines.181 There is even a view that the ZTE scandal has interrupted the “golden age” of Philippines-China relations celebrated in 2005.182 Future Prospects While there are existing irritants in Philippines-China relations, it is the policy of the Philippine government to constructively and comprehensively engage China. Since 9/11, the Philippine government has been articulating a more benign view of China in order to cultivate warm relations with the PRC. During the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic relations in 2005, President Hu Jintao said that both countries have reached the “golden-age” of their bilateral ties. It was also during this year when they launched the First Philippines-China Defense and Security Dialogue, which elevated their bilateral relations to a higher plane.183 Though there are security challenges in Philippines-China relations, there are many rooms in the post-9/11 world that can create opportunities for the two countries to sustain their friendship and enhance their cooperation. First is China’s use of “soft power” to establish and nurture constructive relations with its neighbors in Southeast Asia.184 This “soft power” diplomacy 180 Melvin Calimag, “Philippine ZTE Scandal to Affect Foreign Investment”, Business Week (20 February 2008). 181 Ibid. 182 Agatha Guidaben “ZTE controversy interrupts 'golden age' of RP-China relations,” GMA News Research at http://www.gmanews.tv/story/81636/ZTE-controversy-interrupts-golden- age-of-RP-China-relations. 183 Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Defense and Military Cooperation Between the Philippines and China: Broadening Bilateral Ties in the Post-9/11 Era”, CAPS Papers, no. 43 (Taipei: Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, June 2007). 184 See Joseph Nye, “The Rise of China’s Soft Power,” Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2005. Also see Thomas Lum, Wayne M. Morrison, and Bruce Vaughn, “China’s “Soft Power” in Southeast Asia”, CRS Report for Congress (4 January 2008).
  • 50. 51 ameliorates the fear of a “China threat” in the region and creates a more positive image of China in international affairs.185 China first demonstrated its “soft power” diplomacy in Southeast Asia at the height of the 1997 Asian financial crisis when it decided not to revalue its currency in order to help the affected countries in Southeast Asia to cope with the financial turmoil. China continues its “soft power” diplomacy in the aftermath of 9/11 as part of its “charm offensives” in Southeast Asia by increasing its trade, investment and aid to the region.186 This current international behavior of China provides opportunities for Manila to enhance its cooperation with Beijing. Second, trade has become an important driver of bilateral relationship between the Philippines and China. In 2005 alone, their bilateral trade reached almost $18 billion, in which the Philippines enjoyed a surplus. As stated earlier, the 2007 trade volume surpassed the $30 billion goal for 2010 that was set in 2005. This makes China the 3rd largest trading partner of the Philippines, next to US and Japan. Though the ZTE, North Rail Project and JMSU controversies affected their bilateral ties, improvement in their bilateral trade relations can integrate their economies, increase people-to-people contacts and eventually create a conducive environment for the enhancement of their security relations. Third, the Philippines and China have signed since 1975 more than 80 bilateral agreements that cover a wide array of issues: agricultural, air services, combating transnational crimes, cultural, consular, defense, investment, judicial cooperation, education, energy, infrastructure, media exchange, political cooperation, science, technology, tourism, trade and others. These agreements show the depth and breadth of their bilateral relations. These legal frameworks are positive drivers of their current and future cooperation. Finally, Philippines-China relations are products of several centuries of interactions and socializations. Their ties can be traced 3,000 years ago. This is the basis of enduring relations between them. It is therefore in their common interests to deliberately engage each other for mutual benefits and prosperity. As stated by Philippine Ambassador to the Philippines, Song Tao, “Friendship and cooperation between China and the Philippines serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples. The Chinese government is determined to further push forward the China-Philippines strategic and cooperative relations, work hard for further deepening of pragmatic cooperation in the area of trade, investment, tourism and culture.” 185 Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt, China’s "soft power" re-emergence in Southeast Asia (Paper presented at the inaugural international workshop ‘China World’ at Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School on 10-11 March 2006). 186 Joshua Kurlantzick, “China’s Charm Offensive in Southeast Asia,” Current History, September 2006.
  • 51. 52 Summary and Conclusion The Philippines has a standing policy to comprehensively engage China. After 9/11, Philippines-China relations reached its highest speak, so far, when it celebrated in 2005 their 30th anniversary dubbed as “golden age” of their bilateral ties. Though relations between the two countries were affected by domestic controversies in the Philippines involving projects with China like the ZTE, JMSU and the North Rail Project, the Philippines is still committed to pursue a policy of comprehensive engagement with China in the post-9/11 era. Common historical legacy, geographic proximity, cultural familiarity, economic activity and political expediency are ties that bind the Philippines and China. However, there are current realities in their bilateral ties that they have to confront. Philippine security alliance with the US, the Taiwan factor, the South China Sea disputes and divergent political systems affect the dynamics of Philippines-China relations. Despite these, there are prospects for China and the Philippines to sustain their friendship and enhance their cooperation. China’s use of soft power diplomacy, growing bilateral trade, existence of numerous bilateral agreements and 3,000 years of interactions provide both countries enormous opportunities to cooperate. As stressed by then Ambassador Tao of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, “China and Philippines are close neighbors across the sea and the two peoples enjoy long-standing traditional friendship. There are many touching stories in the centuries of friendly exchanges between the two countries. The national cultures of our respective countries have been developed and enriched during the course of mutual learning and help of the two peoples. It has provided an important basis for developing China-Philippines friendly relations and cooperation.”187 187 Ambassador Song Tao, Speech by at the China-Philippine Traditional Culture Festival, Manila, Philippines, June 5, 2008.
  • 52. 53 CHAPTER SIX Renewed Tensions and Continuing Maritime Security Dilemma in the South China Sea: Current and Emerging Concerns on Philippines-China Security Relations Introduction On 10 March 2009, the Philippine government signed Republic Act (RA) 9522 to comply with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), which stipulates that all claims to be made for sea bed or continental shelf extensions to Exclusive Economic Zones allowed under the treaty be filed by 13 May 2009. Otherwise known as the New Philippine Baselines Law, RA 9522 reaffirms the Philippines’ claims to its territorial waters, including its extended continental shelf, economic zones and an area of the contested Spratlys archipelago known as the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).188 China, Taiwan and Vietnam immediately protested the passage of the New Philippine Baselines Law, which is part of a regional pattern of developments that have inevitably led to an upsurge of security tensions in the South China Sea. These developments include the China-Vietnam controversy over Sansha island in December 2007,189 the China-Philippines hullaballoo on the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) in early 2008,190 the discovery of a major Chinese naval base on Hainan Island in mid-2008191 and a naval skirmish involving the US surveillance ship Impeccable and five Chinese vessels off Hainan Island in March 2009.192 This chapter argues that security tensions over the disputed Spratly Islands have increased despite the adoption of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002. While tensions in the South China has no doubt de-escalated during and after the signing of the DOC,193 security irritants pervaded as claimants continued to improve their civilian and military facilities in their occupied islands, islets, reefs and shoals. Taiwan even protested 188 For a complete electronic copy of the New Philippine Baselines Law or Republic Act 9922, see http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2009/ra_9522_2009.html. 189 For an analysis of this controversy, see Ian Storey, “Trouble and Strife in the South China Sea: Vietnam and China”, China Brief, vol. 8, no. 8 (14 April 2008). 190 For an article that triggered the hullaballoo, see Barry Wain, “Manila’s Bungle in the South China Sea”, Far Eastern Economic Review (January-February 2008). For further analysis, see Ian Storey, “Trouble and Strife in the South China Sea: The Philippines and China”, China Brief, vol. 8, no. 8 (28 April 2008). 191 See David Lague, “Dangerous Waters: Playing Cat and Mouse in the South China Sea”, Global Asia, vol. 4, no. 2 (Summer 2009), pp. 56-61. 192 For an excellent analysis, see Ian Storey, “Impeccable Affair and Renewed Rivalry in the South China Sea”, China Brief, vol. 9, no. 9 (30April 2009). 193 For a study of the de-escalation of conflicts in the South China Sea, see Ralf Emmers, “The De- escalation of the Spratly Dispute in Sino-Southeast Asian Relations”, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Working Paper Series, No. 129 (6 June 2007).
  • 53. 54 the signing of the DOC as it only included Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. It is believed that the exclusion of Taiwan in the DOC has made the declaration ineffective in managing tensions in the South China Sea. Though the DOC temporarily calmed the waters in the South China Sea by upholding the principle of amicable settlement of maritime boundary disputes, its “non-binding” character made the DOC fragile and tenuous. Thus, disputes in the South China Sea continue to be major sources of maritime security dilemma in Asia. China’s growing naval power in recent years has exacerbated this regional maritime security dilemma, leading the other claimants to upgrade their naval assets and modernize their maritime capabilities. The maritime security dilemma in the South China Sea raises the possibility of armed conflict in the Spratlys, something claimants and stakeholders alike are keen to avoid. These renewed tensions and continuing maritime security dilemma in the South China Sea pose formidable challenges for the promotion of maritime security in Asia. Security Dilemma: A Framework for Analyzing Renewed Maritime Security Tension in the South China Sea Security dilemma is an excellent framework to analyze the renewed tensions in the South China Sea. Security dilemma exists when the military preparations of one state create an un-resolvable uncertainty in the mind of another state as to whether those preparations are for “defensive” or “offensive” purposes.194 With the concept of security dilemma, states are always in a “guessing game” situation trying to speculate on each others’ strategic intention whether it is benign or malign. States perceptions of security dilemma create a paradox in which states believe that their security requires the insecurity of others.195 This difficult situation occurs because of the anarchic nature of international system where there is the absence of an overarching authority that can regulate the behavior of sovereign states. In an anarchic international environment, states constantly compete with one another to protect their sovereignty and to pursue their national interests.196 Though the state of anarchy can also encourage states to cooperate by building international regimes or constructing international norms, mutual suspicions continue to describe the reality of international politics. Thus, security dilemma is a tragedy because war can occur between and among states though none of 194 Nicholas J. Wheeler and Ken Booth, “The Security Dilemma” in John Baylis and N.J. Rennger (eds), Dilemmas of World Politics: International Issues in Changing World (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 29-60. 195 Jack Snyder, “Perceptions of the Security Dilemma in 1914” in Robert Jervis, Richard Ned Lebow and Janice Gross (eds), Psychology and Deterrence (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1985), p. 155. 196 For a concept of anarchy, see Robert C. Art and Robert Jervis, International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues, 4th edition (New York: Harper-Collins College Publishers, 1996), pp. 1-148.
  • 54. 55 them desire such an outcome.197 Because each state is mandated to pursue its own national interests, security uncertainties pervade and these uncertainties also create security anxieties that in turn exacerbate the security dilemma. The principle of security dilemma can describe the renewed tensions in the South China Sea.198 All claimants are driven by their desire to protect their territorial integrity and advance their national sovereignty in this contested water. Because of conflicting claims that are motivated by sovereignty issues, claimants in the South China Sea continue to make unilateral moves that aim to strengthen their effective occupation of islands, islets, reefs, cays and shoals in the area. Claimants also continue to build and enhance their maritime capability to protect their interests in the South China Sea. Strengthening Effective Occupation in the Spratlys The South China Sea is composed of two major island-chains: the Paracels and the Spratlys. The Paracels are being contested between China, Taiwan and Vietnam while the Spratlys are being claimed in whole or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. This paper focuses only on the disputed islands, islets, reefs, shoals and cays in the Spratlys. Based on the ten-day field research of the author in the Spratlys on 6-15 May 2009,199 all claimants involved in the disputes, with the exemption of Brunei, are strengthening their effective occupation of what they consider their territories in the Spratlys. China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have been seriously consolidating their physical presence in the South China Sea since the adoption of the DOC. Photographic evidences indicate that claimants have been involved in various infrastructure projects that aim to intensify their military and civilian presence in their occupied islands, islets, reefs and shoals with the strategic intention to prove their effective occupation of these areas and thereby strengthen their claims for ownership. Proving their ownership of these areas has huge implications for the definition of their baselines and exclusive control and exploitation of rich maritime resources in the South China. Figure 1 shows the already well-known overlapping claims in the South China Sea. Figure 2, on the other hand, shows the overlapping baselines of claimants. Because baselines controversies among claimants in the South China Sea have not been settled, there have also been overlapping fishing activities in the whole area as shown in Figure 3. 197 The concept of security dilemma as a tragedy was popularized by Herbert Butterfield. See Herbert Butterfield, History and Human Relations (London: Collins, 1951), pp. 6-20. 198 For an earlier account of security dilemma in the South China Sea, see Alan Collins, The Security Dilemmas of Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2000), pp. 133-172. 199 The author made a follow-up visit on 23-25 September 2009 at the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines based in Puerto Princesa Palawan where the author received a restricted security briefing in the South China Sea. trading necessarily gives in to security concerns.
  • 55. 56 Fishing activities in the South China have been major sources of irritants among claimants as they accuse each other of illegal fishing and poaching in their internal waters. To justify the construction of facilities in their occupied territories, claimants even call these facilities “fishermen shelters”. Some claimants even erected some light posts and observation towers in their controlled areas in aid of navigation. It is already known that there is an enormous navigational traffic in the South China Sea making it one of the maritime superhighways of the world. Figure 4 shows the huge number of ships and tankers passing through the South China Sea, which account for more than 50% of the world’s annual navigational activities. Figure 1 Overlapping Claims in the South China Sea Source: Energy Information Administration, 2009.
  • 56. 57 Figure 2 Overlapping Baselines in the South China Sea Source: The Philippine Navy, 2009. Figure 3 Overlapping Fishing Activities in the South China Sea Source: The Philippine Navy, 2009.
  • 57. 58 Figure 4 Navigational Activities in the South China Sea Source: Global Ballast Water Management Program, 2005. Because of strategic and economic value of the South China Sea, all claimants, except Brunei, have invested their resources in their occupied territories to maintain and consolidate their physical presence and prove their effective occupation. Figure 5 shows the number of territories occupied by claimants and the estimated number of troops deployed by claimants. Since 2002, claimants have been engaged in a number of construction activities that aim to improve and fortify their military and civilian presence in their occupied areas.
  • 58. 59 Figure 5 Presently Occupied Areas in the Spratlys and Estimated Number of Troops Source: PIPVTR Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies, Philippines, 2009. Vietnam Vietnam presently occupies 21 islands, reefs and cay in the Spratlys. It has impressive facilities in the Spratlys. Its largest occupied island, Lagos (or Spratly Island), is the most heavily fortified with a solid runway, a pier, at least 35 building structures, around 20 storage tanks, at least 20 gun emplacements, at least 5 battle tanks and some parabolic disk antennas and a spoon rest radar. In April 2009, Philippine aerial surveillance found a two newly-constructed two- storey building in the Lagos Island with 12 newly-installed light posts and 12 wind mills. Figure 6 shows the current status of Lagos Island, which looks like a small community in the middle of the vast ocean.
  • 59. 60 Figure 6 Lagos Island or Spratly Island (Vietnam) Source: Philippine Air Force, 2009. Aside from Lagos Island, Vietnam also maintains facilities at Pugad Island (Southwest Cay), which is just less than two nautical miles away from the Philippine occupied island of Parola (Northeast Cay). Pugad Island has several gun emplacements, gun shelters, civilian buildings, military barracks, parabolic disc antennas, concrete bunkers, a light house, a football field, a helipad, and many light posts. In April 2009, the Philippine Air Force sighted a supply ship in the vicinity of Pugad Island with newly installed light posts, polarized dipole array antenna, and a broadband facility. Pugad Island also has a well- maintained lagoon suitable for tourists. The surrounding waters of Pugad Island are also good for scuba diving and other water-based sports. Figure 7 shows the present status of Pugad Island.
  • 60. 61 Figure 7 Pugad Island or Southwest Cay (Vietnam) Source: Philippine Air Force, 2009. Other facilities of Vietnam in at least 14 occupied reefs seem to follow a standard pattern of construction. South Reef, Pentley Reef, Discovery Great Reef, Collins Reef, Pearson Reef, Lendao Reef, West Reef, Ladd Reef, Central London Reef, East Reef, Cornwallis Reef, Pigeon Reef, Allison Reef, and Barque Canada Reef have identical structures featuring a golden-painted three-storey concrete building with built-in light house on top, gun emplacements on both sides, T-type pier, solar panels, parabolic disc antennas, and garden plots. Figure 8 shows the Pentley Reef, which is identical with Vietnamese structures in other reefs mentioned above.
  • 61. 62 Figure 8 Pentley Reef (Vietnam) Source: 570th Composite Tactical Wing, Philippine Air Force, 2009. The Philippines The Philippines ranks second in the most number of occupied areas in the Spratlys. It is presently in control of nine facilities that are considered parts of the Municipality of Kalayaan. Its largest occupied facility is the Pag-Asa Island (Thitu Island), the closest island to the Chinese occupied Subi Reef. Pag-Asa Island has an already deteriorating run-way maintained by the 570th Composite Tactical Wing of the Philippine Air Force. It also has a naval detachment maintained by the Naval Forces West of the Philippine Navy. Pag-Asa island has municipal hall called Kalayaan Hall, a village hall called Barangay Pag-Asa, a police station maintained by the Philippine National Police (PNP), sports facilities, observation tower, a commercial mobile phone station, and several civilian houses and military barracks. Pag-Asa Island is the only occupied island of the Philippines with civilian residents. At least five families reside in Pag-Asa. This island is the main seat of the Municipality of Kalayaan established by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1596 issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos on 11 June 1978. Registered voters of Kalayaan Municipality cast their votes in Pag-Asa Island during local and national elections. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) maintains an office in Pag-Asa Island. The Mayor of Kalayaan Municipality has released the Kalayaan Medium Term Development Plan, 2006-2010 to civilianize the management of KIG. Figure 9 shows the current status of Pag-Asa Island.
  • 62. 63 Figure 9 Pag-Asa Island (Philippines) Source: 570th Composite Tactical Wing , Philippine Air Force, 2009. The Philippines also maintains makeshift naval detachment facilities in five other islands, one reef and one shoal. Its facilities in the Rizal Reef (Commodore Reef) are just wooden structures and two small single-storey hexagonal concrete buildings (Figure 10) manned by four personnel of the Philippine Navy. The Philippines also maintains a naval detachment in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) established out of a dilapidated Landing Ship Tank called LST 57 (Figure 11). Ayungin Shoal is the closest structure of the Philippines to the controversial Mischief Reef occupied by China.
  • 63. 64 Figure 10 Structure in the Rizal Reef (Philippines) Source: 570th Composite Tactical Wing, Philippine Air Force, 2009. Figure 11 LST 57 Docked at the Ayungin Shoal (Philippines) Source: Naval Forces West, Philippine Navy, 2009.
  • 64. 65 China Though China does not occupy any island in the Spratlys, it has solid facilities in seven reefs and shoals with concrete helipads and military structures. Its much publicized structure is in the Mischief Reef, which currently has a three- storey concrete building and five octagonal concrete structures in the vicinity. The three-storey building has a basketball court, dipole and parabolic disc antenna, search lights, solar panels and cross-slot type radar. In April 2009, the Philippine Air Force sighted three naval vessels in the vicinity of Mischief Reef: Fulin Class Survey Ship, Shijian Class Survey Ship and Yannan Class Survey Ship. Three fishing vessels were also sighted in the lagoon of Mischief Reef. Figure 12 Mischief Reef (China) Source: Western Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines 2009. China maintains a very impressive helipad facility in the Johnson Reef. This reef has three-storey concrete building armed with high powered machine guns and naval guns. Johnson Reef has identical structures in Chigua Reef and Gaven Reef. In April 2009, the Philippine Air Forces sighted in Johnson Reef a Huainan Jiangwei Class Frigate with body number 560 and it was believed to be armed by surface to surface missile, surface to air missile, 100mm guns, 32mm guns, anti-submarine mortars, and Harbin Z9A Dauphin Helicopter. Figure 13 shows Chinese structure in Johnson Reef.
  • 65. 66 Figure 13 Johnson Reef (China) Source: Western Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines, 2009. Malaysia Malaysia, which presently occupies five areas in the Spratlys, has well- maintained facilities in the Swallow Reef. This reef has a diving center called “Layang-Layang”. Swallow Reef has a resort-type hotel, swimming pool, windmills, communication antennas, control communication tower, civilian houses, military barracks and a helipad (Figure 14). Malaysia also has a very good facility in the Ardasier Reef with an excellent helipad, sepak takraw court, gun emplacements and control tower (Figure 15). The facilities in the Ardasier Reef are almost identical with the Malaysian facilities in Erica Reef, Mariveles Reef and Erica Shoal. Malaysia also maintains a symbolic obelisk marker in the Louisa Reef.
  • 66. 67 Figure 14 Swallow Reef (Malaysia) Source: Western Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines 2009 Figure 13 Ardasier Reef (Malaysia) Source: Western Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines 2009.
  • 67. 68 Taiwan Taiwan only occupies one island called Itu-Aba, officially named by Taiwan government as Taiping Island. It is the largest and the most heavily fortified among the occupied islands in the Spratlys. It has more than 50 buildings used for military and civilian purposes. Itu-Aba has excellent helipad and a very long run-way inaugurated by then President Chen Shuibian in March 2008. The whole island is protected by at least 500 troops armed with at least 20 coastal guns, 20 gun emplacements and communication towers. Like other occupied islands in the Spratlys, Itu-Aba has several parabolic disc antennas, radars, solar panels and concrete bunkers. The island also has firing range and sports facilities. Aerial surveillance of the Philippine Air force in April 2009 indicated that Itu-Aba has newly-constructed three-storey building, new access ramp, and a new firing range. Figure 14 shows the current status of Taiwan’s facilities in Itu-Aba. Figure 14 Itu-Aba (Taiwan) Source: Western Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines 2009.
  • 68. 69 Brunei Because Brunei does no occupy structure in the Spratlys, it is the most passive and benign claimant in the South China Sea. However, the South China Sea forms a significant part in the strategic agenda of Brunei because of its claims in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that creates some occasional irritants with Malaysia. As a party to the DOC, Brunei promotes regional security cooperation and development in the South China Sea. Summary of Infrastructure Improvements and Construction Activities From the foregoing, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have invested their resources to erect solid and more stable structures in their occupied areas. Philippine structures in its nine occupied territories remain modest and in the dismal stage of rapid deterioration. However, the Philippines occupy the most number of Islands (Kota, Lawak, Likas, Pag-Asa, Parola and Patag) that are vegetated and suitable for human habitation if properly developed. Though Philippine facilities in the Spratlys are modest, they may be considered, however, as the most environmentally friendly facilities in the South China Sea. China does not occupy any island in the Spratlys. But its occupied reefs have solid and highly cemented structures. Majority of the areas occupied by Vietnam are also reefs. Like China, Vietnam’s occupied reefs have solid three- storey buildings that are identical. Though Taiwan only occupies one island, it is, however, the largest island in the Spratlys. Malaysia does not occupy any island like China. But all Malaysian occupied reefs are located in an area of huge oil and natural gas deposits (Figure 15). Moreover, its Swallow Reef called Layang-Layang is the most developed reef in the Spratlys for tourism purposes. Brunei does not occupy any island or islet in the Spratlys. But its claims to EEZ overlaps with other claimants including conflict with Malaysia over the Louisa Reef.
  • 69. 70 Figure 15 Oil and Natural Gas Fields in the South China Sea Source: “Oil and Gas Resources in the South China Sea” at http://community.middlebury.edu/~scs/maps/EEZ%20Claims,% 20Oil%20and%20Gas%20Resources.jpg
  • 70. 71 Renewed Tensions in the South China Sea: Challenges for Philippines-China Security Relations and Maritime Security in Asia The South China Sea Disputes still pose a major challenge in maritime security Asia, particularly China’s security relations with the Philippines and other South China Sea claimants in ASEAN. Though China and ASEAN countries have initiated various steps to build confidence for the peaceful management of their differences on many maritime security issues in Southeast Asia and the wider Asia Pacific region, the complex maritime boundary conflicts in the South China Sea make the cooperation of China and Southeast Asia in the maritime domain very difficult to pursue because of the principle of security dilemma. Though the DOC expressed the intention of China and ASEAN to peacefully manage territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the exclusion of Taiwan from the DOC made it incomplete and ineffective to reduce tensions. When China signed the DOC in 2002 with other claimants in the South China Sea (except Taiwan), there was an international jubilation that China has shifted its paradigm of relationship in Southeast Asia from bilateralism to multilateralism. Since 2008, however, when China declared the Vietnamese- claimed Sansha City as an integral part of Hainan Province, there seems to be a retrogression of China’s attitude on the South China Sea. There was a view that China was becoming more and more unilateral in its behavior in the South China Sea. The USS Impeccable incident in March 2009 aggravated the fear of its Asian neighbors that China was increasingly being more unilaterally assertive in advancing its claims in the disputed water. Security anxieties of Southeast Asian claimants and stakeholders were heightened when China’s Ambassador to ASEAN, Xue Hanqin, opined that the South China Sea Disputes would not be on ASEAN agenda.200 ASEAN claimants have been wanting to put the South China Sea Disputes, particularly the Spratly Disputes, in the ASEAN agenda in order to increase its bargaining position with China. Vietnam even wants the Paracels to be included in the ASEAN agenda but other ASEAN claimants just want to focus on the issue of the Spratlys. There is no doubt that China’s attitude on the South China Sea is a major factor that affects the behavior of other claimants. Behaviors of other claimants are, more often than not, reactions on China’s move in the South China Sea. When the issue of Yulin (Sanya) Submarine Base in Hainan Province became controversial in mid-2008, it raised alarms in Southeast Asia as it was reported that the Sanya Submarine Base had a Jin Class type ballistic missile submarine that could enhance China’s sea-based deterrent capability. 200 “Beijing: South China Sea Disputes Not on ASEAN Agenda” (29 October 2009) at http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/10/22/2009102200245.html.
  • 71. 72 As a reaction, Southeast Asian claimants became more serious in their programs to upgrade their naval capabilities. Malaysia, for example, acquired in October 2009 a Scorpene Class submarine to bolster its capability to guard its waters. Vietnam, on the other hand, ordered in 2007 two Gepard Class frigates from Russia. Vietnam also explored the procurement of six Kilo Class submarines from Russia to increase its maritime capabilities. The Philippines, though financially challenged to acquire modern naval ships, has revised in March 2009 its Rules of Engagement in the South China Sea. Taiwan, for its part, upgraded its military facilities in Itu-Aba and in April 2009, a new firing range was sighted to have been completed. In other words, other claimants Sea were reacting on China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China. Thus, ameliorating maritime security dilemma in the South China Sea and maritime security cooperation between China and Southeast Asia will largely depend on how China will behave on the issue. China’s behavior on the South China Sea will be a litmus test of China’s peaceful development as a rising regional and global power. Conclusion Based on photographic evidences gathered by the author from various official and non-official open sources, all claimants, with the exemption of Brunei, have been consolidating their civilian and military presence in the Spratlys to assert their territorial claims. Though there seems to be a de- escalation of conflict in the South China Sea with the adoption of DOC in 2002, renewed security tensions have occurred in the late 2007 indicating the limitations of DOC in managing territorial disputes and perpetuating the maritime security dilemma in one of the contested waters in the Asia Pacific. Renewed security tensions in the South China Sea greatly affect the current direction and emerging status of Philippines-China security relations. Beyond doubt, the territorial disputes in the South China continue to play a destabilizing role in the security of the Asia Pacific region.201 There is therefore a great need to increase transparency and to enhance confidence-building among claimants and other stakeholders in the disputes to effectively overcome the security dilemma in the South China Sea and decisively create a cooperative management regime necessary for regional peace and stability.202 201 For an excellent analysis of the most recent developments in the South China Sea, see Ralf Emmers, “The Changing Power Distribution in the South China Sea: Implications for Conflict Management and Avoidance”, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Working Paper Series, No. 183 (30 September 2009). 202 See Sam Bateman and Ralf Emmers (eds), Security and International Politics in the South China Sea: Towards a Cooperative Management Regime (New York and London: Routledge, 2008).
  • 72. 73 ANNEX A ESSAYS ON PHILIPPINES-CHINA SECURITY RELATIONS AND THE SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTES West Philippine Sea: What’s in a Name? ∗ To assert its sovereignty over some body of waters in the South China Sea, the Philippine government has started to use “West Philippine Sea” to describe a maritime area that is deemed to be an integral part of Philippine maritime territory. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda announced, “All the other nations call the South China Sea based on how they perceive it. Vietnam calls it East Sea so it is but natural for us to call it West Philippine Sea.” The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is the main government agency championing the use of West Philippine Sea in its official communication. But the Department of National Defense (DND) has, in fact, been practically using this term for many years already through the Palawan-based Western Command (Wescom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in charge of protecting the Kalayaan Group of Islands (KIG). In weather reporting, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has instructed the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to officially use West Philippine Sea in the monitoring, forecasting and warning of tropical situation in the area. What’s the coverage of West Philippine Sea? What’s in it for the Philippines? What’s in a name? The whole of South China Sea covers around 3.56 million square kilometers of waters consisting of more than 250 disputed land features in the form of islands, islets, reefs, shoals, atolls and rock formations. While China claims the whole South China Sea area (with Taiwan having identical claims), other claimants such as Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippine and Vietnam only claim part of it. The part being claimed by the Philippines is only the KIG that belongs to what the Philippine government calls West Philippine Sea. ∗ Published in Newsbreak (15 June 2011)
  • 73. 74 Unclear laws. Existing Philippine laws, however, remain unclear on the maritime area covered by the so-called West Philippine Sea. The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides a general statement on the extent of Philippine territories. But the specific coverage of Philippine territories has not been clearly defined by existing laws. Republic Act 9522, otherwise known as the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law, which was passed in March 2009, specifies the extent of Philippine baselines to make it compliant to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The enactment of RA 9522 is considered essential for the Philippines to establish its maritime boundaries vis a vis neighboring coastal states. From these baselines, the Philippines can draw its maritime zones under UNCLOS such as the archipelagic or internal water of 572,307 square kilometers, 12 nautical miles (NM) of territorial sea locally known as municipal waters, 24 NM of contiguous zones, 200 NM of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and 200 NM of juridical continental shelf. However, RA 9522 is controversial, highly contested and even viewed by others as awfully unconstitutional for having deliberately excluded the KIG in the archipelagic baseline. RA 9522 regards the KIG as part of the “regime of islands” of the Philippines, which requires a separate legal cover. Moreover, RA 9522 has not yet fully defined Philippine maritime zones including the coverage of West Philippine Sea, which China regards as part of its “internal waters.” So, which part of the Philippine maritime zone is the West Philippine Sea then? Is it part Philippine territorial sea, contiguous zone, or EEZ? If the KIG is a “regime of islands” that is entitled to have its maritime zones, will the West Philippine Sea cover the maritime zones of KIG? To define the extent of Philippine maritime zone, there are pending bills in the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives called the “The Philippine Maritime Zone” bills. There are two versions in the Senate: the Senate Bill 2737 and the Senate Bill 2723. There is only one version in the House called HB 4185. All these bills aim to specify the extent of Philippine internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, EEZ and continental shelf in accordance with UNCLOS. All these versions, however, have no specific provision on the extent of West Philippine Sea. Moreover, all maritime zone bills in the Philippine Congress are still being deliberated and have not been passed into laws that can provide juridical meaning to West Philippine Sea.
  • 74. 75 No basis. In short, the use of the term West Philippine Sea still has no basis under Philippine laws. It has yet to receive international recognition. Even Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte candidly admits that the Office of the President (OP) has not issued any official directive, to date, on the use of West Philippine Sea. While the use of West Philippine Sea expresses the sovereign prerogative of the Philippines to describe its maritime territory and symbolizes the strategic intention of the Philippines to bolster its ownership of the KIG and its surrounding waters, it is still utterly devoid of legal meaning. Unless we pass a Philippine maritime zone law that can describe the extent of West Philippine Sea pursuant to UNCLOS and applicable international laws, the term West Philippine Sea will remain an empty label that could not withstand the harsh reality of international politics. West Philippine Sea: An American Lake? ∗ To demonstrate the United States’ commitment to Philippine defense pursuant to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), the Philippines and the US have been conducting joint and combined military exercises in Philippine territories. The 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) further justified the holding of these exercises, particularly after the termination in 1991 of the 1947 Military Bases Agreement (MBA). The joint naval exercises launched on 28 June 2011 by the Philippines and US forces in Sulu and Palawan seas are considered part of routine military exercises between the two armed forces as security allies. The major purposes of these exercises are not only to increase the capabilities of the Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP) for self-defense and to make these capabilities interoperable with the American counterparts but also to make the alliance “alive and kicking” for regional security. However, holding the current exercises near the contested West Philippine Sea is being interpreted in Beijing as “anti-China exercises”. It is viewed that the on-going PH-US naval exercises near the West Philippine Sea is a systematic effort “to check and balance” China’s increased visibility in the disputed water that is internationally referred to as the South China Sea. For China, the South China Sea is part of its internal lake. ∗ Published in Philippine Star (4 July 2011)
  • 75. 76 For the US, however, the South China Sea is an international water where all passing ships, commercial and military, should have freedom of navigation. In fact, since the US replaced Great Britain with the rise of Pax Americana after the Second World War, American naval power dominated the Pacific Ocean and all its connecting waters from the South China Sea to the Straits of Malacca. During the cold war, these waters became practically an “American lake”. US presence in Subic Bay aimed to protect this lake from rival powers. The end of the cold war, however, which coincided with the termination of the MBA, led to the withdrawal of American troops and facilities from Subic. The South China Sea, which was part of American lake in the Asia-Pacific, was regrettably relegated into the backwater of American foreign and security policy in the post-cold war era. The power vacuum left by the US in Southeast Asia encouraged China to fill-in by declaring the whole South China Sea as an “indisputable” part of its territorial integrity. The increased strategic significance of the South China Sea in the 21st century as a result of oil and natural gas discoveries in the area, not to mention its rich marine biodiversity and efficient maritime superhighway, has prompted the US to return to Southeast Asia by strengthening its alliances in the region. As an American ally, the Philippines provides US forces access to its land and water territories to conduct joint military exercises and to implement defense capacity-building projects. American troops are now seen not only in Sulu and Palawan but also in Zamboanga del Sur, Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi, North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur. Some ordinary Filipino citizens are now asking for explanations on the sudden increase of American troops in the Philippines, particularly in Minsupala (Mindanao, Sulo and Palawan) areas? Are American troops here to counter-terrorism in Mindanao or to counter- China in West Philippine Sea? Are they in the Philippines to increase Philippine defense or to intensity Philippine dependence on the US? Answers to these questions are now subjects for public debate. But with the increasing access of American troops in Philippine territories needing defense amidst the perceived threats associated with the ascendant China, is the Philippines opening the gate for the US to re-make West Philippine Sea an “American lake”? That begs the question.
  • 76. 77 PH’s Problematic Protest vs China Over Spratlys∗ On April 5, 2011, amid renewed security tensions in the South China Sea, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations lodged a formal protest to the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea to challenge China’s position in this contested body of waters. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) responded on April 14, and accused the Philippines of invading Chinese territories in Nansha Island or what Manila calls as the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG). China regards the whole South China Sea area as integral part of its territory. This so-called territory is contained in its “nine-dotted line” that covers practically all waters that are considered part of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of other claimants. China has been very vocal in asserting “undisputable” claim in the South China Sea and regards claims of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam as “invalid” and “illegal”. In fact, there were reports of China declaring the South China Sea as part of its “core interest” on par with Taiwan and Tibet, a new statement that got the ire of the US, Japan, India and Australia. Taiwan also lays claim on the Itu-Aba Island. Since Southeast Asian countries uphold a One-China policy, Taiwan claim is deemed part of the PRC claim In the protest letter, the Philippines raised three major points. First, that it has sovereignty and jurisdiction of the KIG including all its geological features. It regards KIG as an “integral part of the Philippines.” Second, the Philippines strengthens its claim using the Roman principle of “dominium maris” and the international law principle of “la terre domine la mer,” which means that land dominates the sea. Under this principle, the Philippines argues that it is exercising sovereignty and jurisdiction over the waters around the KIG or adjacent to each relevant geological features of the Kalayaan Island, which is under the local government control of the Municipality of Kalayaan. The Philippines contends that this position is provided for under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in which China is also a signatory. Third, the Philippines regards all relevant waters, seabed and subsoil in KIG as part of Philippine territory being a coastal and archipelagic state. The Philippines states that the Archipelagic Doctrine is recognized and protected by pertinent provisions of UNCLOS. ∗ Published in Newsbreak (28 April 2011)
  • 77. 78 Apparent from these points is a new diplomatic offensive of the Philippines in the South China Sea. With practically no military muscle to assert its claim, the Philippines has to resort to the convincing power of diplomacy to redeem its honor in the international community of sovereign nations. Compared with China, which has deployed several modern patrol ships in the South China Sea and established a naval base in Hainan to house its nuclear- powered submarines not to mention its construction of its first air craft carrier, the Philippines has no naval power to brag about. Most of its naval assets are World War II vintage while its few newer assets are used not for territorial defense but for counter-insurgency and counter- terrorism operations. Though the Philippine Navy has recently acquired from the US an Hamilton-Class Cutter to be deployed in the KIG, the ship is vintage 1960s, which is no match to the newly acquired Scorpene Class submarines of Malaysia and the Geppard-Class frigate of Vietnam. In fact, Vietnam already ordered six Kilo-Class submarines from Russia and developing Cam Ranh Bay as its new naval base. Brunei, the smallest country among the claimants, has acquired several modern Offshore Patrol Vessels from Germany to protect its waters. In order words, diplomacy is the only means left for the Philippines to protect its claims in the KIF. But did the April 5 protest earn for the Philippines a diplomatic advantage? The Philippines submitted the protest during the lowest moment of Philippines-China diplomatic relations already marred by several controversies: the August 2010 Manila hostage crisis, the execution of suspected Filipino drug traffickers, the ZTE scandal and North-South Rail issue, among others. Submitting the protest during these rough times in bilateral relations is not prudent. It gives a wrong signal to China about Philippine interests in bilateral relations. The protest was likewise submitted during the launching day of Philippines-American Balikatan Exercises 2011. This opens a lot of speculations on the Americans’ role in setting the directions of Philippines-China relations in the South China Sea. The US already declared that it has national security interests in the South China Sea. Lastly, the world already knows the long-standing Philippine position on the KIG. This position is not only articulated in domestic and international laws but is already debated like a broken record in many academic journals and policy studies. While the April 5 protest strongly reaffirms our position on the KIG, it aggravates our worsening ties with China, the fastest growing major power in the world. And it was filed a month before the proposed visit of President Aquino to Beijing, a planned visit that is now on uncertain ground. There is a saying in international relations that diplomacy is the first line
  • 78. 79 of defense. In the case of the Philippines in the South China Sea disputes, diplomacy is our main line of defense. While the Philippines needs to pursue diplomatic offensives to assert its claim in the KIG, proper timing is necessary to accomplish not only the country’s short-term tactical goals but also its long-term strategic objectives. The Philippines, though a security ally of the US, has a long-term strategic interest in maintaining friendly and constructive relations with China being a rapidly emerging super power. The submission of the Philippine protest on April 5 to the UN during the lowest moment of Philippines-China relations makes the improvement of Philippine diplomatic relations with China not only difficult but also problematic. A Mischief Reef in the Making?∗ While Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie was enjoying his “goodwill” visit to the Philippines on May 21-25 to “improve” Philippines-China relations, the Philippine military discovered in the same period some Chinese ships unloading construction materials near the unoccupied, but still Philippine controlled, Amy Douglas Bank. Based on the report of the Philippine military, China has erected an undetermined number of posts, and placed a buoy near the breaker of the Amy Douglas Bank. To date, the Chinese government has not yet verified the said incident. But it continues to claim sovereignty of all the islands, islets, reefs, shoals, banks and even rocks in the South China Sea. The Philippine government asserts that Amy Douglas Bank falls within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EZZ). Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin expressed disappointment that the incident in the Amy Douglas Bank occurred at the time of the official visit of his Chinese counterpart. The visit aimed to repair Philippines-China bilateral ties that has been recently damaged by renewed security tension in the South China Sea. In a press conference, Defense Secretary Gazmin lamented, “Somehow I’m really affected because we have shown them our hospitality and we were talking properly. We agreed that all problems could be resolved. And yet while we’re talking, something was afoot elsewhere.” The Department of Foreign Affairs has already released an official statement expressing “its serious concerns over recent actions of the People’s ∗ Published in Newsbreak (2 June 2011)
  • 79. 80 Republic of China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)”. This is a landmark statement for having described that part of the sea as West Philippine Sea. The concept of West Philippine Sea, however, has yet to receive international recognition. The Amy Douglas Bank incident is just part of the renewed security tension in the South China Sea. The tension started in 2008 when China declared the Vietnamese-claimed Sansha City as an integral part of the Hainan Province. It was also during this year when the Yulin (Sanya) Submarine Base of China was discovered in Hainan Province. Tensions escalated in March 2009 when Chinese ships allegedly harassed the USS Impeccable conducting surveillance activities in the Spratly. Since then, China has deployed several patrol ships in the South China Sea to defend what it calls an integral part of its “internal waters.” This claim is based on the Nine-Dash Line Map that China submitted to the United Nations on May 7, 2009. Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have already submitted to the UN their protest to the Chinese claim. But with several Chinese ships patrolling the South China Sea on rotation basis, China has already developed its muscle to be more assertive in “reclaiming” its “lost territories.” With its growing blue water capability and increasing military power supported by sustained economic growth of at least 9 percent annually since 1989, China now has all the means to assert its foreign and security policy in the South China Sea. For China, the South China Sea is part of its internal lake and an integral aspect of is “ancestoral property.” But China laments this property has been taken away from them at the time of its weakness. Now that China has regained its strength as the traditional “Middle Kingdom” in Asia, it now has the wherewithal to be more decisive in its claim in the South China Sea. Last year, the South China Sea was declared as part of China’s “core interests” at par with Taiwan and Tibet. While there is no doubt that China is stronger now than before, its current behavior in the South China Sea is a litmus test of China’s self-proclaimed policy of “peaceful development.” As an ascendant power, China is trying to convince the world that its rise to global power status will be peaceful and benign. As a rising power, China is telling the whole world that it is a “status quo power,” benign and peaceful and satisfied with its current status. But its growing assertive behavior in the South China Sea is giving the world a message that China is becoming more of a “revisionist power.” This concept states that major power aspires for more power as it grows stronger.
  • 80. 81 If China continues to display its growing assertive behavior, its neighbors will view it not as a strong sign of assertiveness but as an utter expression of aggressiveness. Thus, its claim for a benign status will put be in a very strong doubt. The reported incident in the May Douglas Bank, if proven accurate, is not only an assault against the Philippines. It is also an assault against the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). China and ASEAN signed in 2002 a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The DOC urges claimants not only to manage their existing disputes peacefully but also to prevent future disputes by not occupying additional features in the contested water. The delivery of construction materials near the May Douglas Bank by Chinese ships at the same time when Chinese Defense Minister was visiting the Philippines has challenged the sincerity of China as a reliable partner for “peace, freedom, friendship and cooperation” in the South China Sea. The incident has created an impression that while China is talking “sweet” in its neighbors’ house, it is acting “bitter” at the backyard. If China wants to correct this impression, it has to make its own people accountable for the Douglas Bank Incident as it was a clear violation of the DOC. Otherwise, the Douglas Bank Incident can be a Mischief Reef in the making. This is a scenario that can worsen the rising tension in the South China Sea, which can attract other major powers to become inevitably involved. Anarchy in the South China Sea∗ To peacefully manage the complex territorial disputes in the South China Sea (SCS), Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario urgently calls for the promotion of a “rules-based regime” that can transform SCS “from an area of dispute to a Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship, and Cooperation (ZoPFF/C).” This concept of a “rules-based regime” aims to uphold the strict implementation of international law, which in the context of the SCS disputes, refers primarily to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Creation of this type of regime also necessitates the urgent adoption of a binding Code of Conduct (COC), which is considered to be the next logical step after the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). In other words, the proposal of Del Rosario all boils down to the need to uphold the rule of law , rather than the use of force, to peacefully settle the territorial disputes in the SCS. ∗ Published in Newsbreak (7 June 2011)
  • 81. 82 While there is no doubt that the idea of a rule of law has become a maxim in any civilized society where “no one is above the law,” its meaning varies among nations with different political traditions. There is no precise definition of a rule of law even in a mature democracy where conflicts are managed without the use of force. The application of a rule of law is all the more problematic when applied in inter-state politics where there is the utter absence of a government that can enforce laws and peacefully manage disputes among sovereign states in a manner found in domestic politics. In short, there is anarchy in international relations—a grim reality also found in the SCS. Anarchy in the SCS does not mean total chaos or sheer disorder marred by violence, although that can happen. Anarchy is a mirror of a type of order in international politics where there is no central or “sovereign” authority above sovereign states. Under international anarchy, the sovereign is the state, which is independent and autonomous pursuing its own selfish interests. But how can we manage the SCS disputes in the condition of international anarchy? The proposal of Del Rosario represents a school of thought in international relations that sovereign states can, in fact, cooperate in the condition of anarchy. Through cooperation, sovereign states can prevent war among them despite their existing differences. Cooperation promises peace dividends which sovereign states can benefit from. Called a “Regime Theory in International Relations,” it posits that sovereign states can establish the habit cooperation by creating a regime, which Stephen Krasner (an international relations theorist) describes as “a set of explicit or implicit principles, norms, rules, and decision making procedures around which actor expectations converge in a given issue-area.” Regime creates a standard of behavior that facilitates inter-state cooperation. Regime guarantees states to cooperate and co-exist peacefully in the condition of anarchy. Key to the application of a regime theory in peacefully managing the SCS dispute is the issue on whether the expectations of all relevant players in the conflict are in fact converging. Disagreements of claimants on some important details of the proposed COC strongly indicate that there is still a great divergence rather than convergence of expectations among parties to the conflict. While a regime theory provides a benign solution to international conflicts, which is found in the condition of anarchy, it is advanced more seriously by states with limited military means to advance their national interests. States with greater military wherewithal to advance their national interests would hesitate to be bound by a “regime” if it would affect its advantageous position in the
  • 82. 83 relative distribution of power in international politics. Regime does not have independent power over sovereign states, particularly those considered as major powers. Powerful states are motivated to be part of the regime if it would serve their economic, political, and security interests. Major powers would opt out of the regime if it starts to limit their powers and alter their status in international politics. In case of the SCS dispute, a rules-based regime will only be viable if it will not be used against a major power—China, the only major power among the claimants in the SCS. If a proposed “rules-based regime” in the SCS has the intention of “containing” China and “bind” China by the “rules of the weak,” China will enormously go against the creation of that regime. But if that rules-based regime recognizes China’s peaceful rise as a major power and acknowledges China’s important role in maintaining peace and stability in the SCS without necessarily “constricting” its power ascendancy, China will in fact the major champion of that regime. If truth be known, the issue of war and peace in the SCS largely depends on China’s current and future behavior. The promotion of a rules-based regime in the SCS must be presented in a way that it will not be misconstrued as “anti- China” so that the problem anarchy in the SCS will provide the prospects for peace, stability and prosperity for all. Emerging Cold War in the Spratlys∗ In an official meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario on 23 June 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured that the US is committed to defend the Philippines amidst rising security tensions in the South China Sea, which the Philippine government now calls as West Philippine Sea. To operationalize this commitment, Secretary Clinton stressed that the US would provide the Philippines affordable and reliable military equipment in order to enhance the external defense capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), particularly in defending its territories in West Philippines Sea. The AFP is now preparing a “shopping list” of military hardware it wants from the US. So far, these words of Secretary Clinton are the most reassuring statements ever expressed by a top US official on the state of Philippines- American security relations. Since 1951, the Philippines and the US have been military allies through ∗ Published in Philippine Star (24 June 2011)
  • 83. 84 the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). This placed the Philippines on the side of the US in the cold war against the former Soviet Union. But their strong military relations became practically moribund with the termination in 1991 of the 1947 Military Bases Agreement (MBA). The termination of MBA coincided with end of the cold war between the US and the former Soviet Union. When the US withdrew its last remaining troops from Clark and Subic in 1992, their military relations reached its lowest moment leading to the rapid deterioration not only of Philippines-American alliance but also of Philippine military capabilities. China took advantage of this moment when it passed a law in 1992 declaring the whole of South China Sea as part of its internal waters. US reaction was ambiguous and underscored that it would remain neutral on the Spratly issue. However, Chinese occupation of the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef in 1995 prompted the US and the Philippines to fashion a new type of military relationship in order to respond to a China challenge in the Spratlys. In 1999, the Philippine Senate ratified the Philippines-American Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to justify the presence of American troops conducting joint and combined military exercises with the AFP in Philippine territories. The VFA is said to have provided operational substance to the MDT, which serves as the cornerstone of Philippines-American security alliance. Despite the signing of the VFA, the US maintained its “strategic ambiguities” on the Spratly issue and declared its “hands off” position on the maritime disputes in the South China Sea. While the VFA renewed Philippines-American security relations, it failed to actually revive their military alliance. The China challenge in the Panganiban Reef at that time was not enough justification for US troops to become visibly involved in Philippine security. Things changed in 2001 when the US used the VFA to justify American presence in the Philippines as part of the global war on terrorism (GWOT). The GWOT reinvigorated the once dormant Philippines-American alliance. The GWOT even led to the signing of the Mutual Logistic Support Agreement (MLSA) in 2002 and the establishment of US Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTFP) Headquarters in Zamboanga City thereafter. The threat of terrorism, therefore, encouraged the Philippines and the US to work closely together. China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea is now being viewed in the Philippines and the US not only as a security challenge, but more of a military threat. This is the context on why Secretary Clinton strongly expressed US commitment to defend the Philippines amidst tensions in the Spratlys.
  • 84. 85 Secretary Clinton’s statement indicates the emerging cold war between the US and China in the Spratlys. A cold war is a situation where at least two major powers are involved in a security tension and subdued military hostility short of an actual military battle. Conflicts are expressed through proxy wars, military coalitions, propaganda, espionage, and even trade competitions. This situation is now emerging between the US and China in the contested Spratly group of islands. Indications of an emerging cold war in the Spratly started to manifest in March 2009 when five Chinese ships “harassed” USS Impeccable, a US Navy minesweeper. The Chinese government claimed that the US ship was intruding in China’s internal water, which was regarded by the US government as an international water where all ships can enjoy free or innocent passage. The emerging cold war between the US and China on the Spratly issue is also manifested in the exchange of words between the two powers in various international forums like the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Shangrila Dialogue, and various meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) involving the two powers. The US exclaims that the US has a national security interest in the South China Sea. China, on the other hand, asserts that the South China Sea forms part of its core interests at par with Taiwan and Tibet. China, which says that it remains committed to the peaceful resolution of territorial conflicts, wants the US out of the South China Sea Disputes. But the US reiterates its willingness to get involved in the peaceful management of disputes in the Spratly while assuring its allies in the region of US military assistance. The Philippines is now inevitably involved in an emerging cold war between the US and China in the Spratly. As an American ally, the Philippines is apparently on the side of the US in this emerging situation. But will the Philippine government allows itself to get involved in a proxy war between the US and China when the cold war in the Spratly reaches its peak? This situation is something that all sovereign states have to prevent to happen. Risk of War in the Spratlys∗ While the Philippines and the US were launching their naval exercises on June 28, 2011 in the waters of Sulu and Palawan, which are very close to the disputed Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea, an Australian-based think- ∗ Published in Newsbreak (29 June 2011)
  • 85. 86 tank, the Lowy Institute, warned of a growing risk of war in the East China and South China Seas. In its report entitled Crisis and Confidence: Major Powers and Maritime Security in Indo-Pacific Asia authored by Rory Medcalf, Raoul Heinrichs and Justin Jones, the Lowy Institute asserts that China’s growing military and rising resource needs from the disputed waters of East China and South China Seas have developed into a “risk-taking behavior” of Beijing. This behavior makes the country in friction not only with the claimants in the Spratlys, namely Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam but also with other major powers, particularly with the United States, Japan and India. The report underscores, “China’s frictions with the United States, Japan and India are likely to persist and intensify. As the number and tempo of incidents increases, so does the likelihood that an episode will escalate to armed confrontation, diplomatic crisis or possibly even conflict.” The report also exclaims, “The sea lanes of Indo-Pacific Asia are becoming more crowded, contested and vulnerable to armed strife. Naval and air forces are being strengthened amid shifting balances of economic and strategic weight. The changing deterrence and warfighting strategies of China, the United States and Japan involve expanded maritime patrolling and intrusive surveillance, bringing an uncertain mix of stabilising and destabilising effects.” Coinciding with the release of this report is the press statement delivered a few days earlier by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei who says that China has a foreign policy that “sticks to the path of peaceful development, upholds the defense policy that is defensive in nature and commits itself to actively developing friendship and cooperation with countries around the world, especially neighboring countries.” However, China’s neighbors in Southeast Asia, particularly the claimants in the Spratlys, strongly doubt the sincerity of Beijing to implement its policy of peaceful development considering the unprecedented rise of its military power that is believed to have already acquired a blue water capability. China has scheduled sea trials of its first Aircraft Carrier on July 1. It is expected that this aircraft carrier will cruise the waters near the Spratlys. The growing visibility of Chinese ships patrolling the contested waters of the Spratlys has, in fact, made its neighbors terribly uneasy. This has prompted the US to reaffirm its commitment to defend its allies and partners in Asia amidst the risk of war in the region. Apparently, the prospects of war and peace in the Spratlys largely depend now on the current and future behavior of China.
  • 86. 87 As the traditional “Middle Kingdom” in Asia, China is currently at the middle of various suspicions because of the many uncertainties associated with its military rise. These uncertainties create security anxieties of its neighbors who will inevitably gang-up against China if China fails to assuage the fear of its neighbors. Major power competitors like the US, Japan and India will take advantage of this situation to form a loose coalition of democratic states to check China’s growing might. The fear of China will also encourage the Philippines and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to bandwagon with the US, Japan and India in order to hedge against the ascendant China. There is no doubt that China has to do a lot of enormous explaining to effectively convince its neighbors that its growing military power and increasing visibility in the Spratlys will not pose risks of war. Otherwise, China will create an international environment not conducive for its peaceful development. Clash of Sovereignties in the Spratlys ∗ When the United States assured its friends and allies in Southeast Asia that it is committed to defend and assist them on rising tensions in the Spratlys, China just warned the US to back off and stay out of the South China Sea disputes. China’s Vice foreign minister, Cui Tiankai, even stressed that “the United States is not a claimant state to the dispute. So, it is better for the United States to leave the dispute to be sorted out between the claimant states.” With exemption of Taiwan, all claimants in the Spratlys are all sovereign states with a defined territory in which they should exercise full control. However, they have clash of sovereignties over some territories in the South China Sea called by Vietnam as East Sea and by the Philippines as West Philippine Sea. China’s Indisputable Sovereignty. China claims “indisputable sovereignty” of all the waters and features in the South China covered within its so-called “nine-dashed lines” map submitted to the United Nations. However, China only occupies seven features in the Spratlys – Chigua Reef, Cuarteron ∗ Published in Philippine Star (30 June 2011)
  • 87. 88 Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reef, Johnson Reef, Mischief Reef, and Subi Reef. All these reefs occupied by China have highly cemented structures. China maintains very impressive helipad facilities in Chigua Reef, Gaven Reef, and Johnson Reef. It has three-storey concrete building in Mischief Reef. All its facilities in the nine occupied features have dipole and parabolic disc antenna, search lights, solar panels, various types of radars and gun emplacements. Taiwan’s Identical Sovereignty Claims with China. Taiwan has identical claims to sovereignty with China. Countries adopting a one-China policy regards Taiwan as a mere province of China. Thus, Taiwan’s sovereign claim in the South China Sea disputes is complicated. But it occupies the largest island in the Spratlys: the Itu Aba or Taiping Island that has an excellent helipad and a very long and highly cemented runway. Vietnam’s Incontestable Sovereignty. Vietnam claims “incontestable sovereignty” of two island-groups in the South China Sea: the Paracels and the Spratlys. Clash of sovereignties in the Paracels only involved China and Vietnam (and to a certain extent Taiwan). In Spratlys, it involved Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Vietnam presently occupies 21 islands, reefs and cay in the Spratlys with impressive facilities. Its largest occupied island, Lagos (or Spratly Island), is the most heavily fortified with a solid runway, a pier, at least 35 building structures, around 20 storage tanks, at least 20 gun emplacements, at least 5 battle tanks and some parabolic disk antennas and a spoon rest radar. Aside from Lagos Island, Vietnam also maintains facilities at Pugad Island (Southwest Cay), which is just less than two nautical miles away from the Philippine occupied island of Parola (Northeast Cay). Pugad Island has several gun emplacements, gun shelters, civilian buildings, military barracks, parabolic disc antennas, concrete bunkers, a light house, a football field, a helipad, and many light posts. Other facilities of Vietnam in at least 14 occupied reefs seem to follow a standard pattern of construction. South Reef, Pentley Reef, Discovery Great Reef, Collins Reef, Pearson Reef, Lendao Reef, West Reef, Ladd Reef, Central London Reef, East Reef, Cornwallis Reef, Pigeon Reef, Allison Reef, and Barque Canada Reef have identical structures featuring a golden-painted three-storey concrete building with built-in light house on top, gun emplacements on both sides, T-type pier, solar panels, parabolic disc antennas, and garden plots. The Philippines’ Sovereignty Claim Based on “dominium maris” and “la terre domine la mer”. The Philippines claims sovereignty and jurisdiction in the Spratlys within its Kalayaan Island Group (KIG). It regards KIG as an “integral part of the Philippines.” The Philippines strengthens its sovereignty claim using the Roman principle of “dominium maris” and the international law principle of “la terre domine la mer,” which means that land dominates the sea.
  • 88. 89 Under this principle, the Philippines argues that it is exercising sovereignty and jurisdiction over the waters around the KIG or adjacent to each relevant geological features of the Kalayaan Island, which is under the local government control of the Municipality of Kalayaan. The Philippines contends that this position is provided for under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Philippines ranks second in the most number of occupied areas in the Spratlys. It is presently in control of nine facilities that are considered parts of the Municipality of Kalayaan: Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, Kota (Loaita) Island, Lawak (Nanshan) Island, Likas (West York) Island, Pag-Asa (Thitu) Island, Panata Island (Lankiam) Cay, Parola Island (Northeast Cay) Patag (Flat) Reef, and Rizal (Commodore) Reef. Its largest occupied facility is the Pag-Asa Island, the closest island to the Chinese occupied Subi Reef. Pag-Asa Island has an already deteriorating run- way maintained by the 570th Composite Tactical Wing of the Philippine Air Force. It also has a naval detachment maintained by the Naval Forces West of the Philippine Navy. Pag-Asa island has municipal hall called Kalayaan Hall, a village hall called Barangay Pag-Asa, a police station maintained by the Philippine National Police (PNP), sports facilities, observation tower, a commercial mobile phone station, and several civilian houses and military barracks. The Philippines also maintains makeshift naval detachment facilities in five other islands, one reef and one shoal. Its facilities in the Rizal Reef are just wooden structures and two small single-storey hexagonal concrete buildings manned by four personnel of the Philippine Navy. The Philippines also maintains a naval detachment in Ayungin Shoal established out of a dilapidated Landing Ship Tank called LST 57. Ayungin Shoal is the closest structure of the Philippines to the controversial Mischief Reef occupied by China. Malaysia’s Sovereignty Claim Based on Continental Reef Principle. Malaysia’s claim to sovereignty in the Spratly is based on the continental reef principle outlined by UNCLOS. As such, Malaysia claims 12 features in the Spratlys. But it only presently occupies six features: Ardasier Reef, Dallas Reef, Erica Reef, Investigator Shoal, Mariveles Reef, and Swallow Reef. Malaysia has well-maintained facilities in the Swallow Reef. This reef has a diving center called “Layang-Layang”. Swallow Reef has a resort-type hotel, swimming pool, windmills, communication antennas, control communication tower, civilian houses, military barracks and a helipad. Malaysia also has a very good facility in the Ardasier Reef with an excellent helipad, sepak takraw court, gun emplacements and control tower. The facilities in the Ardasier Reef are almost identical with the Malaysian facilities in Erica Reef, Mariveles Reef and Investigator Shoal. Malaysia also maintains a symbolic obelisk marker in the Louisa Reef being claimed by Brunei.
  • 89. 90 Brunei Sovereignty Claim Based on EEZ. Brunei’s claim to sovereignty in the Spratlys is based on the principle of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) provided for by UNCLOS. It provides coastal states 200 nautical miles EEZ in which coastal states have sovereign right to exploit resources of the area. Brunei does not occupy any feature in the Spratlys. But it asserts that the Louisa Reef being claimed by Malaysia is part of Brunei’s EEZ. Managing Contested Sovereignty Claims in the Spratlys. The Spratly dispute is a complex case of contested sovereignty claims. Because of the strategic value of the Spratlys, which is proven to have enormous oil and natural gas resources not to mention its very rich marine resources, it is very unlikely for all claimants to surrender their sovereignty claims. All claimants rule out the use of force to resolve their maritime disputes in the Spratlys. But they continue to upgrade their military capabilities to assert their respective claims. They also use UNCLOS as the basis of their claims. But they seldom use UNCLOS to manage their differences. China prefers to manage the Spratly disputes bilaterally. But other claimants want to internationalize the issue. With the Spratly disputes now upped the ante, tensions can further escalate if claimants remains intransigent in their sovereignty claims. To manage disputes in the Spratlys peacefully, claimants may consider anew the shelving of sovereignty issues and be more pragmatic in exploring the possibilities of joint development. This is an option that can put claimants in a win-win situation. Word War in South China Sea: A Diplomatic Crisis in Philippines- China Relations∗ While commemorating the 36th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-China Relations signed on 9 June 1975, China Ambassador to the Philippines, Liu Jianchao, exclaimed that the Philippines’ protests against China on the Reed Bank and Iroquois Reef-May Douglas Bank incidents were all based on “bad rumors”. Referring particularly to the Iroquois Reef-May Douglas Bank incident, the Chinese Ambassador stressed, “It’s a bad rumor because we have no intention of occupying one of the islands. We clarified the reaction which was aimed at seismic survey that was done there so this is something that should not be played up because after all it’s just a survey not by military vessels but vessels for the survey.” ∗ Published in Philippine Star (10 June 2011)
  • 90. 91 The ambassador has also reiterated the long-standing position of China that the South China Sea belongs to China and its “ownership” of the said water is “indisputable.” He even tells other claimants to the disputes, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam, “to stop searching the possibility of exploiting resources in the area where China has claims.” The ambassador also underscores that if the countries with claims in the South China want to explore and exploit any resources in the disputed water, “you can talk to China about the possibility of having a joint cooperation development and exploitation of natural resources.” The Philippines, however, maintains its “firm stand” that the Reed Bank and the Iroquois Reef-May Douglas Bank belong to its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where the country has all the exclusive rights to explore and exploit the natural resources of the area. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the Philippines was only protesting “incursions into Philippine territorial waters by Chinese vessels.” Despite the strong statement of the Chinese ambassador against the Philippines protests, Lacierda stated that the Philippines will continue its activities in its EEZ, especially the oil exploration activities in the Reed Bank. These exchanges of strong words between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea Dispute indicate the seemingly irreconcilable difference between the two countries on the issue. Both countries are now engaged in a word war, which poses a great diplomatic challenge in Philippines-China Relations. If not carefully managed, this word war can deteriorate into a diplomatic crisis that both countries do not want to happen. The word war between the Philippines and China on the South China Sea Dispute is happening at the time when both countries should be joyfully celebrating the 36th year of their bilateral relation, which in 2005 was just declared to have reached the “golden age of partnership”. This year, however, sees the sudden deterioration of Philippines-China relation as a result of conflicting claims in the South China Sea. The word war between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea Dispute has created unnecessary ill-feelings on both sides that if not assuaged properly can make both countries at odd with each other. Since 1975, when the Philippines and China normalized their diplomatic relations, their partnership has become comprehensive spanning cultural, economic, political and even military areas. This comprehensive partnership even led to the signing of the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Cooperation in 2009 as a living testament of their deepening friendship and growing partnership for mutual benefits. The Philippines even celebrated the 35th anniversary of Philippines-China Relations in Nanning, China in 2010 on the occasion of 7th China-ASEAN Expo.
  • 91. 92 The year 2011, however, is one of the worst years in Philippines-China Relations after the Mischief Reef controversy in 1995 and the Scarborough Shoal incident in 1997. It looks very impossible for China and the Philippines to give up their respective claims in the South China Sea because of the growing demand from both countries to access and exploit the valuable resources, particularly oil/gas and fish, in the disputed water. But if both governments will continue to exchange harsh words against each other on the issue, it will not only harm state- to-state relations, it will also affect people-to-people contacts. If both countries are really serious in pursuing peaceful means to settle their differences, they have to mutually exercise self-restraint in publicly criticizing each other by exchanging harsh words so that government-level “misunderstanding” will not spill-over to the misunderstanding of their people. Blog sites and networking sites are now filled with comments from citizens of their countries lambasting one another. If this trend continues, government-level differences can trigger racial outrage that will further inflict harm on Philippines-China relations. The Philippines and China have already made tremendous accomplishments in their bilateral relations over the past 36 years. The South China Sea Dispute shall not be the reason why both countries have to retrogress in their ties. While there is no doubt that the Philippines and China have conflicting stand on the South China Sea Dispute, their commitment to settle their territorial disputes by peaceful means shall be strongly emphasized in public discourse. Rather than focus on their differences, both countries shall concentrate in discussing issues of mutual interests and make sure that issues of mutual interests will redound to their citizens. In this case, the positive aspects of Philippines-China relations can establish social ownership. As an interim measure, the Philippines and China shall seriously start talking about joint development in the South China Sea. Rather than determining which countries have ownership or rights to the disputed territories in the South China Sea, the Philippines and China should open their channels of communication to candidly consider the idea of joint development so that when they celebrate the annual anniversary of their ties in the future, they will share common accomplishments rather than exchange harsh words.
  • 92. 93 Phl, China Row on Spratlys: Time for Good Manners and Right Conduct∗ Amidst rising tensions in the Spratlys, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario went to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for a two-day official visit (July 7-8) in order to “advance” Philippines-China relations that have been recently damaged by the contested sovereignty claims in the West Philippine Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea. The official visit aimed not only to tackle Philippines-China differences on the Spratly disputes but also to set a conducive environment for the forthcoming visit to China within this year of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Secretary del Rosario visited China after two important preceding events that happened in Manila: the celebration of the 113th founding anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on July 5 and the holding of the Manila Conference on the South China Sea on July 5-6. The celebration of the 113th anniversary of DFA should have provided the Philippines the right opportunities to take stock of its achievements and challenges in the conduct of its foreign relations, particularly with two important global powers: the United States and China, which at present are involved in an emerging cold war in the South China Sea. The DFA celebration of its 113th founding anniversary also occurred at a time with US forces were conducting joint naval exercises with the Philippines, which has been engaged in a word war with China over the issue of the Spratlys. The word war in the Spratlys between Manila and Beijing even resulted in the banning of a Chinese diplomat from attending meetings in the Philippines for “rude” behavior. On the other hand, the Manila Conference on the South China Sea organized by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) and the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam brought together various international experts on the issue to discuss the current difficulties in the Spratlys. The conference highlighted the need adopt a binding agreement in order to prevent disputes in the South China Sea to escalate into an armed conflict. Inputs from these two events should have given the DFA Secretary adequate knowledge on how to deal with Chinese counterparts wisely and prudently during his visits. There is no doubt that the visit of Secretary Del Rosario followed the right tract of diplomacy to address Manila’s difficult relations with Beijing on the Spratlys. The visit also re-opened important channels of communication for both ∗ Published in Philippine Star (8 July 2011)
  • 93. 94 countries to air and settles their differences as well as overcome their quarrels peacefully not only to advance their respective national interests but also to promote their mutual interests. There is no illusion that Secretary Del Rosario’s two-day visit to China will automatically resolve their quarrels over the Spratlys. But the visit was very important to rebuild confidence necessary for the repair of Philippines-China relations, which have become so comprehensive encompassing diplomatic, cultural, economic, political, social and even military areas. The visit was also necessary to uphold good manners of all claimants involved in the disputes and to promote right conduct of parties by seriously considering the adoption of a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. Secretary Del Rosario would return home to Manila hopefully with pragmatic options for the Philippine government on how to handle its bilateral relations with China on the Spratly disputes. In fact, this process pleases China as it wants to resolve the Spratly disputes bilaterally with claimants. However, no pragmatic solution will be achieved if both countries, and for that matter all claimants, will continue to raise ownership and sovereignty issues. It is very unlikely for all claimants to surrender their sovereignty claims. If the Philippines and China would remain intransigent in their sovereignty positions and continue to pursue a hard line stand on their claims, there is no way for the Spratly disputes to be resolved peacefully. But if the Philippines and China can demonstrate some flexibilities in their claims and “sweep” the issue of sovereignty “under the rug”, until such time that sovereignty issue is no longer an issue because both countries have already reached the level of mutual understanding necessary for productive cooperation like “joint development”, both countries will set the trend of promoting good manners and right conduct in the Spratlys that other claimants can follow. It is only when all claimants would be willing to “eschew” sovereignty issues that the peaceful management of the Spratly disputes will be achieved.
  • 94. 95 What’s Needed: More Dialogues among Spratlys Claimants∗ On Oct. 16-17, 2011, the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation (CPRF), in collaboration with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore, organized the International Forum on the South China Sea at the Manila Polo Club, Makati City. This Forum (attended by retired and active government officials, academics, members of the diplomatic corps and private sector leaders) brought together a number of well-known international scholars and experts studying the South China Sea dispute and how to effectively manage it. The main objective of the Forum was “to give clarity to national positions, surface the underlying issues that animate these positions, and identify areas of common interest.” Indeed, conflicting national positions on the South China Sea dispute were articulated during the Forum. But these positions were not totally clarified because some speakers, who claimed to be scholars, spoke more like propagandists of their respective governments. Thus, instead of identifying areas of common interests, the Forum highlighted more areas of differences in sovereignty claims, which was necessary to clear the air. Taiwan’s inclusion. Since this International Forum was a track-two, non- official process, the event included Taiwan scholars. This was, in fact, one of the strengths of this Forum – the inclusion of Taiwan in the dialogue process. Taiwan is never part of official international discussions on the South China Sea because claimant states (Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam) have a One-China Policy that recognizes Taiwan as a mere province of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Inviting Taiwan to the Forum was essential to have a holistic understanding of the South China Sea disputes. Taiwan is an important stakeholder in this complex territorial conflict. Its continued exclusion from official discussions and dialogues will not complete the process of conflict management in the South China Sea. Unless a reunification takes place between China and Taiwan, which have identical claims in the South China Sea, managing the South China Sea disputes ∗ Published in Newsbreak (19 October 2011)
  • 95. 96 without Taiwan is utterly difficult. The situation becomes harder with the recent announcement of the Taipei government of its readiness to deploy missile in its occupied island, the Itu-Aba or Taiping Island. The Itu-Aba is the largest island in the Spratlys with the longest and highly cemented runway. It is one of the highly strategic islands in the Spratlys because of its location and island features. In fact, Itu-Aba is suitable for a submarine base. During the Second World, Japan used Itu-Aba as a submarine base to support its imperial ambition to establish the so-called East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Thus, if Taiwan decides to re-build a submarine base in Itu-Aba, it can strategically alter the existing balance of power in the South China Sea. In other words, Taiwan may be out of the official discourse in the territorial claims but is deeply enmeshed in the territorial dispute. The Forum also included an Indonesian speaker (Ambassador Hasjim Djalal) who talked about lessons learned in managing the conflicts in the South China Sea. Though Indonesia is not officially a claimant state in the Spratlys dispute, its gas field in the Natuna Island belongs to the nine-dash lines being claimed by China and Taiwan. Being a de-facto leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesian role in conflict management in the South China Sea dispute is essential. Speakers from the Philippines and Vietnam have articulated very well the official and non-official views of their respective countries in the South China Sea disputes. Surprisingly, however, the Forum did not include Malaysian and Brunei speakers. A Brunei participant from the private sector only served as a session chair. Claims of Malaysia and Brunei have tremendous bearing on Philippine claims because of geographic proximity, particularly in maritime areas West of Palawan where the Philippine government has existing oil exploration activities. Thus, the absence of Malaysian and Brunei speakers during the Forum made this track-two process wanting. Vague plan. The main issue that surfaced repeatedly in the Forum was the controversial issue of joint development. China is the main champion of joint development to promote cooperation rather than conflict in the South China Sea.
  • 96. 97 But the idea of joint development at present remains vague and general. The specific area where joint development will be pursued has not been really identified by claimants, and more so by China. The Vietnam speaker has interpreted China’s concept of joint development to mean “all claimants developing the area together but the ownership belongs to China.” But the Chinese government has repeatedly stressed that joint development means “all claimants developing the area together for mutual benefits and the issue of ownership should be set-aside for the time being.” However, other claimants regard the South China Sea dispute as a sovereignty issue, an issue so vital that it could not be set aside. Thus, the issue of ownership is the crux of disputes in the South China Sea. There is no doubt that the South China Sea dispute is an expression of clash of sovereignties. In international politics, nations go to war because of sovereignty. If the sovereignty issue will be always be raised in any discussions on the South China Sea, there is no way that this conflict will be solved in the foreseeable future. But a forum like the one organized by CPRF and ISEAS will help prevent this territorial conflict to escalate into an actual shooting war. More dialogues and discussions among claimants can open channels of communications that are necessary for conflict management in the South China Sea. Peace and Stability: Way Ahead in the Spratlys∗ Despite the current security tensions that can increase the risks of war due to clash of sovereignties in the Spratlys, peace and stability is still the way ahead in this contested body water. There are four major reasons why. First, all claimants, namely Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam have all agreed to manage the disputes in the Spratlys peacefully. Though all sovereign states have the right to use force when their ∗ Published in Philippine Star (13 July 2011)
  • 97. 98 vital national interests are threatened, the use of force to settle international disputes is no longer the norm in international politics. The principle of peaceful settlement of inter-state conflicts is embodied in the Charter of the United Nations (UN), in which all sovereign states are members of. The UN has also provided various mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of international disputes in order to ameliorate the security dilemma of states in the condition of international anarchy. The 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea or DOC also articulates the maxim of pacific settlement of disputes. Although the DOC is non-binding for just being a declaration, all claimants refer to it when problems arise in the South China Sea. Second, we now live in the era of globalization where all sovereign states have become so interconnected through commerce, trade, and tourism. This interconnectedness is evident in the South China Sea through international navigation. It is already well known that the South China Sea is one of the busiest sea routes in the world. In fact, the South China Sea is a maritime superhighway with at least 50,000 ships passing through its sea-lanes annually. Thus, waging a war in the Spratlys is costly for claimants and counter-productive for all states depending on the freedom of navigation in the area. Third, though claimants are presently upgrading their military capabilities, they are not designed to invade other states or to occupy already occupied features in the Spratlys. They are designed to increase their capabilities to protect their occupied features and to patrol the waters covering them. They are also designed to deter other claimants to make new occupations as required by the DOC. If claimants have overlapping waters to patrol, they can sort our their differences through negotiations, either bilaterally or multilaterally. Acquisition of submarines, frigates, corvettes, and offshore patrol vessels by claimants are not meant to support an “invasion” force. They are being acquired to primarily confront the growing non-traditional security threats in the maritime domain such as piracy and armed robbery against ships, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, human trafficking and international terrorism. Without those naval assets, “internal waters” and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of claimants will be prone to abuse by non-traditional sources of security threats. The current tensions in the Spratlys gave claimants a strong justification before their taxpayers to increase national budget for naval acquisitions. Finally, the current tensions in the Spratlys are in fact blessings in disguise. Through the current tensions, claimants are able to express their strategic intentions, something that were not expressed before.
  • 98. 99 The current tensions gave all claimants a better understanding of the disputes and their respective national positions on the issue. With this understanding, claimants will be more circumspect and nuanced in dealing with each other in order to avoid a war in the Spratlys. If there are claimants anticipating an inter-state war in the Spratlys, they have not come to grips with the reality of globalization and complex interdependence of nations. They will become a pariah state whose behavior is not in sync with international norms of peaceful behavior.
  • 99. 100 ANNEX B LIST OF PHILIPPINES-CHINA BILATERAL AGREEMENTS "1975 – 1 September 2011 Political • Joint Communiqué of the Government of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 09 June 1975. • Joint Statement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century. Signed in Beijing on 16 May 2000. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Council of Young Political Leaders (PCYPL) Foundation, Inc. and Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAFIU). Signed in Beijing on 5 July 2005. • Joint Action Plan for Strategic Cooperation between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 29 October 2009. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on Strengthening Cooperation, 31 August 2011 • Joint Statement of the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, 1 September 2011. Defense • Agreement Between the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China on the Establishment of the Offices of the Defense and Armed Forces Attachés. Signed in Beijing on 29 July 1996. • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Utilization of the Military Engineering Equipment Assistance Loan Provided by China to the Philippines. Signed in Beijing on 29 July 1996. • Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation between the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 8 November 2004. • Agreement between the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China on China’s Provision of Military Aid Gratis to the Philippines. Signed in Beijing on 8 November 2004. • Agreement between the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China on China's Provision of Military Aid Gratis to the Philippines. Signed in Beijing on 10 October 2006. • Agreement between the Department of National Defense of the Republic of
  • 100. 101 the Philippines and the Ministry of National Defence of the People's Republic of China on China's Provision of Military Aid Gratis to the Philippines. Signed in Beijing on 08 December 2009. Transnational Crimes • Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China on Cooperation against Illicit Traffic and Abuse of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals. Signed in Beijing in October 2001. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China on Cooperation in Combating Transnational Crime. Signed in Beijing in October 2001. Judicial • Agreement on Cooperation Between the National Prosecution Service of the Department of Justice of the Republic of the Philippines and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Beijing in October 2000. • Treaty on Extradition between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China. Signed on 30 October 2001. Energy Cooperation • Letter of Intent between the Philippine National Oil CO. Exploration Corp. and the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC). 10 November 2003. • An Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking on Certain Areas in the South China Sea By and Between Philippine National Oil Company and China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Signed in Beijing on 1 September 2004. • An Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Survey in certain areas in the South China Sea by the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), and the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation (PETROVIETNAM). Signed on 14 March 2005. Trade/ Investments/ Finance • Trade Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 09 June 1975. • Agreement on Long-Term Trade between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 08 July 1979.
  • 101. 102 • Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and People's Republic of China Concerning the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investments. Signed in Manila, 20 July 1992. • Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income. Signed in Beijing on 18 November 1999. • Memorandum of Understanding between Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the People’s Bank of China on the establishment of Banking Institutions in each other’s territories. Signed on 17 May 2000. • Cooperation Agreement between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). Signed in October 2001. • Bilateral Swap Agreement between the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the People's Bank of China. Signed in Manila on 30 August 2003. • Memorandum of Understanding on Mining Cooperation between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). Signed in 18 January 2005. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Promotion of Trade and Investment Cooperation. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. • Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Early Harvest Program under the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between the Association of South East Asian Nations and the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. • Framework Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Provision of Concessional Loan by China to the Philippines. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. • Framework Agreement on Expanding and Deepening Bilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Memorandum of Understanding between the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China on Establishing the Economic Working Group. signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Memorandum of Understanding between China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation and Philippine Government Agencies. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007.
  • 102. 103 • Framework Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China on Provision of Concessional Loan by China to the Philippines. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China on Cooperation on Industrial Products Safety and TBT Measures. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Utilization of US$500 million Preferential Buyer's Credit Between the Department of Finance of the Republic of the Philippines and the Export and Import Bank of China. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Five-Year Development Program for Trade and Economic Cooperation between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, 31 August 2011 • Exchange of Letters on the Provision of Grant Assistance by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines • Memorandum of Understanding between the Board of Investments- Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on the Designation of a Chinese Investment Advisor Agriculture • Agreement on the Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture and other Related Areas Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Beijing, 18 November 1978. • Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Agriculture. Signed in Beijing on 24 April 1990. • Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Hybrid Rice Technology. Signed on 13 July 1999. • Agreement on Cooperation in Agriculture and Related Fields. Signed on 13 September 1999. • Understanding on the Cooperation in the Fields of Agriculture, Irrigation and Other Related Areas between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China. Signed on 16 May 2000. • Agreement between the Department of Finance and the China National Construction and Agricultural Machinery Import and Export Corporation on a US$100-million credit facility to finance agricultural development projects in the Philippines. Signed on 20 December 2000. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China on Fisheries Cooperation. Signed in Beijing on 1 September 2004.
  • 103. 104 • Memorandum of Understanding on the Special Treatment for Rice between the Governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. • Memorandum of Understanding on Expanding and Deepening Agriculture and Fisheries Cooperation. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China in the field of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Agreement on the Development of 1 million Hectares of Land for Hybrid Corn, Hybrid Rice and Hybrid Sorghum Farming. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Agreement on the Leasing of 40,000 Hectares of Agri-Business Lands for Sugarcane and Cassava Plantation. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Agreement on the Provision of a 5,000-Square Meter Space for Philippine Tropical Fruits in the Jiangnan Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Agreement for the Establishment of a 150,000 Liter Per Day-Capacity Bio- Ethanol Plant in Palawan. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Joint Venture Agreement for the Manufacture of Bio-Ethanol (B.M.S.B). Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Joint Venture Agreement for the Manufacture of Bio-Ethanol (Negros Southern). Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Joint Venture Agreement for the Establishment of a 150,000 Liter per Day- Capacity Bio-Ethanol Plant. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Memorandum of Agreement on the Provision of Small Mobile Ice Plant and Transport Facilities to Municipal Fishery Cooperatives and Associations. Signed in Manila on 16 January 2007. • Memorandum of Agreement on the Establishment of a 35-Hectare Demonstration Farm for Sweet Corn. Signed in Manila on 16 January 2007. • Memorandum of Agreement on the Construction of Ship Yard, Establishment of a Cold Storage Facility and Upgrading/Rehabilitation of Certain Facilities at the Navotas Fish Port Complex (NFPC). Signed in Manila on 16 January 2007. • Agreement on the Development of Candaba Swamp Resource Project as a Source of Water for Irrigation. Signed in Manila on 16 January 2007. • Memorandum of Agreement on Cooperation By and Between the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Guandong Ocean Fisheries Adminsitration (GDOFA). Signed in Manila on 16 January 2007. • Memorandum of Agreement on the Breeding and Culture of Grouper and Other High Value Species. Signed in Manila on 16 January 2007. • Joint Venture Agreement on Fisheries. Signed in Manila on 16 January 2007. • Agreement on Breeding and Culture of Abalone, Sea Cucumbers, Sea Urchins and Scallops. Signed in Manila on 16 January 2007.
  • 104. 105 Consular • Visa Agreement allowing Filipino diplomatic and consular personnel to receive multiple-entry entry visas from the Chinese Government for a maximum validity period of five years. Signed on 03 July 2002 and entered into force on 19 December 2002. • Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China on Mutual Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic and Official (Service) Passports. Signed in Beijing on 1 September 2004. • Consular Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and People’s Republic of China in Manila on 29 October 2009. Air Services • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China Relating to Civil Air Transport. Signed in Beijing on 08 July 1979 and took effect upon its signing. • Memorandum of Understanding on air services. Signed in Beijing on 02 March 2004. • Memorandum of Understanding supplementing the traffic rights granted under the 2004 MOU, 24 November 2010. Infrastructure • Memorandum of Understanding Between the Philippine National Railways and China National Technical Import Export Corporation and China National Machinery and Import & Export Corp. Signed in Manila on 15 November 2002. • Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Utilization of the US$400- million Preferential Buyers' Credit from China to the Philippine s between the Export- Import Bank of China and the Department of Finance of the Philippines. Signed in Manila on 30 August 2003. • Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding between North Luzon Railways Corporation and China National Machinery and Equipment Corporation (Group). Signed in Beijing on 1 September 2004. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on Infrastructure Cooperation. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. • Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Utilization of US$500 Million Preferential Buyer’s Credit from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines between the Export-Import Bank of China and the Department of Finance of the Republic of the Philippines. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. • Loan Agreement on the Provision of US$500 million Preferential Buyer's Credit Loan for the Northrail Project Phase 1, Section 2. Signed in Manila on 15
  • 105. 106 January 2007. • Concessional Loan Agreement on Non-Intrusive Container Inspection System Project Phase 2. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Contract Agreement between North Luzon Railways Corporation and China National Machinery Industry Corporation for the Northrail Project Phase 1, Section 2. Signed in Manila on 15 April 2007. (originally signed in Beijing on 15 November 2006) • Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract for the Rehabilitation and Upgrading of the Philippine Mainline South Railway Project Phase 1, Section 1. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. (originally signed in Manila on 5 December 2006) Tourism • Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation between the Department of Tourism of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 21 April 1989. • Agreement on Tourism Cooperation between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 10 May 1990. • Memorandum of Understanding concerning Tourism Cooperation. Signed in Beijing on 11 September 2002. • Implementation Program of the Memorandum on Tourism Cooperation between the Department of Tourism and the China National Tourism Administration. Signed in Beijing on 1 September 2004. • Implementation Program of the Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation between the Department of Tourism of the Philippines and the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China, 31 August 2011 Scientific and Technical • Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China. Signed in Manila, 14 March 1978. Maritime • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Transportation and Communications of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Communications of the People’s Republic of China on Maritime Cooperation. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. Education • Memorandum of Agreement between the Commission on Higher Education of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language of the People’s Republic of China signed in Manila on 12 March 2003. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Commission on Higher
  • 106. 107 Education of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Manila in March 2007. • Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Program for Cultivating Local Pre-Service Chinese Language Teachers of the Philippines between the Commission on Higher Education of the Republic of the Philippines and the Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 27 October 2009. • Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Academic Degrees in Higher Education (MRA) between the Commission on Higher Education of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 19 November 2009. Cultural • Cultural Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 08 July 1979 and took effect upon its signing. • Agreement on the Protection of Cultural Heritage. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. • Agreement on the Prevention of Theft, Clandestine Excavation, Illicit Import and Export of Cultural Property between the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 15 January 2007. Health • Memorandum of Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Health between the Department of Health of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Manila on 09 October 2008. Sports • Memorandum of Understanding on Sports Cooperation. Signed in October 2001 Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Sports Commission and the General Administration of Sports of the People's Republic of China. Signed on 8 April 2005. • Agreement on Mutual Sports Exchanges and Cooperation between the Philippine Sports Commission and the Tianjin Municipal Sports Bureau of China. Signed in Manila on 10 September 2009. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Sports Commission and the General Administration of Sport of China on Sports Cooperation, 31 August 2011
  • 107. 108 Youth • Agreement between the National Youth Commission of the Republic of the Philippines and the All-China Youth Federation of the People’s Republic of China on Youth Affairs Cooperation. Signed in Manila on 27 April 2005. • Memorandum of Understanding on Further Development of Sino-Filipino Youth Exchange between the All-China Youth Federation and the National Youth Commission of the Philippines. Signed in Beijing on 13 July 2005. Communications • Postal Parcels Agreement between the Bureau of Posts of the Republic of the Philippines and the Directorate General of Posts of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of the People’s Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 18 November 1978. Media and Information • Letter of Intent on Friendly Exchanges and Cooperation between the Office of the Press Secretary of the Republic of the Philippines and the State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China. Signed in Beijing on 3 September 2004. • Memorandum of Understanding between the Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Philippines and the State Council Information Office of China on Friendly Exchanges and Cooperation Agreement of Cooperation by and between the People’s Television Network, Inc. of the Philippines and the China Central Television, 31 August 2011. Source: Philippine Embassy in Beijing. See http://philembassychina.org/start/index.php/en/2011-10-26-03-01-07/list- of-bilateral-agreements.
  • 108. 109 POSTSCRIPT On 31 August 2011, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III held his first official state visit to China since he assumed office in June 2010. President Aquino III met his Chinese counterpart, President Hu Jintao, amidst rising tensions in the South China Sea. During his three-day official visit, President Aquino III also met Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council. On 1 September 2011, the President Aquino III and President Hu issued a Joint Statement, which states the following: • The two leaders shared a positive assessment of the development of Philippines-China relations in the last 36 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 9 June 1975; • They reiterated their commitment to jointly pursue a long-term and stable relationship of strategic cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit; • They also agreed that the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Cooperation signed by the two sides on 29 October 2009 will continue to guide cooperation in all fields; and, • The Philippines reaffirmed its adherence to the one China policy In the Joint Statement, both countries “agreed to further expand the volume of bilateral trade and accordingly set a target of US$60 billion in total two-way trade by 2016.” They made a commitment “to improve the trade structure, promote a more vigorous exchange of investments and explore new areas of economic cooperation in the fields of, among others, new and renewable energy, shipping and ports.” President Aquino III and President Hu also affirmed in the Joint Statement “that the Philippines-China Five-Year Development Program for Trade and Economic Cooperation (2012-2016) serves as the blueprint for future efforts in the following sectors: agriculture and fishery, infrastructure and public works, mining, energy, information and communications technology (ICT), processing and manufacturing, tourism, engineering services and forestry.” To further improve their bilateral ties through tourism visits and people- to-people contacts, both countries declared “2012-2013” as the "Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchanges". More importantly, the countries stressed in the Joint Statement “not to let the maritime disputes affect the broader picture of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.” They reiterated their commitment to address their existing maritime disputes “through peaceful dialogue” in order to “maintain continued regional peace, security, stability and an environment conducive to economic progress.” They also reaffirmed “their commitments to respect and abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by China and the ASEAN member countries in 2002.”
  • 109. 110 Though the state visit of President Aquino III to China was cordial and full of enthusiasm, the President went back to Manila with the continuing problem in the South China Sea. To provide an overarching solution to the territorial problem in the South China Sea, the Philippine government launched the idea of the Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation (ZoPFFC). Planned to be discussed at the 19th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and 6th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bali, Indonesia on 17-19 November 2011, the idea failed to get into the conference table because of China’s vehement rejection. China has expressed strong opposition to ZoPFFC as it challenges “China’s 9-dash line claim”. The Philippine paper on ZoPFFC even underscores that the 9-dash line claim of China “is bereft of any legal basis under international law”.203 Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario even described China’s 9-dash line claim as “the core of the problem” that must be “subjected to rules-based regime of UNCLOS.”204 Though the Philippine government argues that the ZoPFFC proposal is consistent with the rules based framework of managing international disputes, China vehemently opposes Manila’s proposal because Beijing is not ready to bring the South China Sea Disputes before international adjudication.205 In fact, China hijacked the agenda of the 2011 ASEAN/EAS Summits in Bali when it warned participants not to discuss ZoPFFC and the South China Sea Dispute. Thus, participants failed to discuss ZoPFFC at the 2011 Bali Summits. Secretary del Rosario admitted, “ZoPFFC was not brought up at all. We’re the only one who brought up the ZoPFFC. All the interventions were on maritime security in the West Philippine Sea.”206 The Philippine government planned to raise ZoPFFC again in the 2012 ASEAN/EAS Summits. But without the concurrence of China, it is utterly difficult for the Philippines to move the ZoPFFC proposal forward. At present, Philippines-China security relations still face an uncertain direction because of the thorny issue of the South China Sea. Despite that, both countries have recognized not to let the South China Sea Dispute affects other aspects of their comprehensive bilateral ties, which are more robust, constructive and productive. 203 Philippine Paper on ASEAN-CHINA Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation (ZoPFF/C) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS)/South China Sea (SCS) at http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?um=1&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&tab=iw&q =cache:XwxT_QtzQwsJ:http://nghiencuubiendong.vn/trung-tam-du-lieu-bien- dong/doc_download/364-philippine-paper-on-asean--china-zone-of-peace-freedom-friendship- and-cooperation-in-the-south-china- sea+zone+of+peace+freedom+friendship+and+cooperation+(zopff/c)&ct=clnk 204 Albert F. del Rosario, “On West Philippine Sea” (Delivered at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bali, Indonesia on November 15, 2011) at http://www.gov.ph/2011/11/15/the- secretary-of-foreign-affairs-on-the-west-philippine-sea-november-15-2011/ 205 Aileen S.P. Baviera, “The South China Sea Disputes: Is the Aquino Way the ASEAN Way?, RSIS Commentaries (5 January 2012). 206 T.J. Burgonio, “President Aquino’s Spratlys Plan Hold Until Next Year”, Philippine Daily Inquirer (20 November 2011).
  • 110. 111 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rommel C. Banlaoi is the Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR) and Head of its Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies (CINSS). He is a recipient of the Albani Philippine Peace Prize Award in 2011 for peace education. He currently serves as Member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Association of Chinese Studies (PACS), Center for Political and Democratic Reforms, Inc., and the Mayor’s Development Center (MDC) where he once served as a founding center director. Rommel is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of International Studies at Miriam College handling undergraduate and graduate courses on international peace and security as well contemporary global issues. He served as a professor of political science and international relations at the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) and became a senior adviser of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP). He is also a Senior Fellow at the Yuchengco Center of De La Salle University, Manila where he once held an appointment as Assistant Professor in International Studies. He also held an appointment as University Research Associate at the University of the Philippines, Diliman where he took his BA, MA and PhD (ABD status) in Political Science. He was also an Instructor in Political Science at the University of the Philippines, Los Banos. A frequent commentator on local and international newspapers, television and radio talk shows, Banlaoi has single-authored eight books and five monographs, co-authored four books, and single-authored at least 70 book chapters and international journal articles on various issues of regional security, foreign and defense policy, local governance, civil-military relations, security sector reforms, peace process, and international terrorism. Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR)

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