Do Chinese ships off Zambales coast test Philippine Naval capability or provoke U.S military action in the South China Sea: A commentary
Anchor for Allvoices
Republic of the Philippines
In the first place, Chinese display of naval power off Zambales coast against the Philippine Navy is viewed as a “duel between the rat and a mighty dragon”; a fight between David and Goliath where China does not get any honor and pride in pursuing it. A giant stepping on a dwarf is a very dishonorable deed to happen between the neighbor nations.
As Jonathan de Santos | Yahoo! Southeast Asia reported and herein quoted, “DFA said that on Tuesday, a team from BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, a former U.S. military ship, found "large amounts of illegally collected corals, giant clams and live sharks" in one of the Chinese military ships seen in the area.”
It is observed that the incident ignited exchanges of “harassment accusations” between China and the Philippines. How could Philippine Navy ship, Gegorio Del Pilar harass Chinese fishing vessels when it was being blocked by two Chinese maritime surveillance ships? As De Santos further reported, "The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar later reported that two Chinese maritime surveillance ships identified as Zhonggou Haijian 75 and Zhonggou Haijian 84 managed to sail at the mouth of the Shoal, placing themselves between PF-15 and the eight Chinese fishing vessels, thus preventing the arrest of the erring Chinese fishermen," DFA said.
In an earlier related incident as De Santos reported, “a Philippine Navy surveillance aircraft spotted eight Chinese fishing vessels inside Panatag Shoal. BRP Gregorio del Pilar was then dispatched from Palawan to confirm the sighting and "assert Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights over the area as a responsible coastal state."
Panatag Shoal, 124 nautical miles off of Zambales province, is within the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf of the Philippines. It was a clear intrusion of Chinese fishing vessels and Chinese Naval ships into Philippine territorial waters in the South China Sea.
What do such incidents suggest? Yesterday Wednesday, April 11, 2012, a U.S Naval vessel was seen to have dropped anchor on Subic Bay, Philippines. This writer saw only one American ship however there must be more as American naval vessels usually visit the area in convoys.
If there are Chinese naval ships off Zambales coast and American naval ships are on Subic Bay, then, what do these displays of naval muscles suggest? Does Chinese military power tend to test American military capability within the area?
Please do not use the Philippines as the staging point of that “test”. We do not want war in this part of the world. Probably, the matter makes President Aquino’s forehead to “overheat”. Hopefully, U.S. President Barack Obama notices it.