CHINA BULLIES NEIGHBORS OVER DISPUTED TERRITORY
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Good afternoon to fellow global citizens!
East Asia has been hit with the fever of the ‘China syndrome’ symptomatic of a giant that is just awakening. Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan were the specific neighbors that complained about Chinese forces’ incursion into their claimed island territories.
China’s bullying of its neighbors is symptomatic indeed of a growing malaise in the awakening giant. Too far yet is that stage when China will become a wealthy over-developed economy, yet its state players have begun to flex muscles that are arrogant displays of colossal military might.
With a population of 1.5 Billion and a navy that is now on transition to a ‘blue water navy’ (capable of maneuvering in oceans past its water territories), the flexing of military muscles over disputed islands proves to be bothersome behavior for its neighbors. Southeast Asians built their mutual trust and esteem through cooperation and consensus for many decades, so that Chinese intrusive behavior just resonate with that built-in synergy among them.
So arrogant were the Chinese state players, particularly the chiefs of defense and diplomacy, that they lectured their neighbors with pontifications about territorial integrity and diplomacy, with the presumption of course that their neighbors were barbarians who lacked the savvy for understanding questions of ethical and political propriety.
For some time now, this analyst openly expressed his stand for a stronger ASEAN, precisely because a unified region comprising of small states can stand up to big neighbors such as India and China in case that the latter will bully their way to success. ASEAN was in ancient times the averred and esteemed Majapahit Empire, and it is time to reconstruct that ‘empire of the Sun’ that was the world’s wealthiest during its peak.
Within the frame of ASEAN military arrangement, an ASEAN-wide military which will have a command structure of its own distinct from the national armed forces of constituent nations, will prove to be very instrumental in securing the region against economic & military giants of the planet.
Meantime, the Asian countries bullied by China should become more assertive of their rights to their clamed territories by maximizing on the use of diplomacy and institutional channels such as the United Nations and attached agencies. Regional issues such as the present territorial disputes involving China should be converted to global issues so that the entire humanity will be involved in judging errant nations and making them tow the line of international law.
[Philippines, 13 June 2011]
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