Philippines Clash With China Over Disputed Waters

Published on Author goodk17

China has been making moves to access oil and fishing space in the Southern China Sea. This has caused frictions with several of its neighbors, but none more so than the Philippines. The island nation has lodged a formal complaint over the dispute with the UN. The reason the Philippines have taken such a strong stance on this conflict, and Vietnam has not, rests on two key points. “Unlike many of China’s neighbors, the Philippines has relatively little to lose if Beijing retaliates economically. And, unlike several South China Sea neighbors, the Philippines enjoys military support from the United States.” Manila has the political capital necessary to challenge China’s grab for resources. As Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Philippine advocacy group Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said: “They think they can scare people here and have them change their minds about the sovereignty issue, I don’t think so.”


6 Responses to Philippines Clash With China Over Disputed Waters

  1. See another post that uses the identical graphic, which I deleted here. Ditto for the comments, which touch on some of the issues. The content of this post however is much more concrete, and poses an analytic claim as to why the disputes are greater with the Philippines.

    But as the the Philippine stance, isn’t it also that the greatest incursions to date are in islands off the Philippines, perhaps in part because it has a weak navy from its long subservience to the US?

    • It would make sense that the Philippines relying on the US navy as a crutch could weaken it’s stance against China, but does seem that that very crutch is still committed to preserving stability in the region.

      “My intent is not to plan for war against any particular nation, but rather to lessen the chances of conflict by increasing security and stability more broadly throughout the region. But the Pacific Fleet is prepared, unequivocally, to respond to threats to our nation, our interests and our allies from a position of strength,” Admiral Harry Harris told a security conference in Canberra on Tuesday.

      • Yes, there is a web of security arrangements and formal treaties. In many cases we leave our obligations vague: if you draw a line in the sand, would-be aggressors will push up to the line. If they’re not sure where the line is they will hopefully exhibit greater caution.

        The challenge in such positioning is that it’s clear that taking over a particular atoll would not in itself be a threat to US national security. We also want to avoid dwelling on details because an admiral might have a hard time explaining in Congress why sinking a Chinese “fishing” vessel in Philippine waters is vital. So lots of posturing!!

  2. China’s Navy has been making many aggressive moves. Will the U.S. do something to stop them?

    • I sure hope so. It is important for America to remain as the world’s strongest military and navy. Letting China overcome us in that aspect would be quite frightening.

  3. I agree with this last post ^. What will the U.S. do? This is what Ambassador Chun was talking about in his VMI talk. The politics of Northeast Asia are very strained now that China is flexing it’s muscles more and more often. Where is the line where the U.S. will come in and make a real effort to give China a shove back?