Lawmaker suggests PH economic sanctions against China
THE PHILIPPINES and its allies should consider imposing economic sanctions on China if Beijing refuses to abide by the ruling of a United Nations arbitration court on the two countries’ dispute in the South China Sea, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon said on Sunday.
In the face of the mounting threat from China, one possible solution for the Philippines and its neighbors in the region is to unite and do what the European Union did to Russia in response to Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine, Biazon suggested in a radio interview.
“This might lead to something like what the European Union did in the dispute over Ukraine…. They imposed mostly economic sanctions … including a little bit of political sanctions [on Russia],” Biazon said.
In an interview on dzBB radio, Biazon said other retaliatory measures could be taken against China, such as blocking the passage of its oil imports from the Middle East along the ancient commercial route known as the “Silk Road,” which China was reviving.
“They depend heavily on oil imports from the Middle East. What happens if that passage becomes problematic? China is now reviving the Silk Road so they can ensure they have a steady supply of oil they can ship by trucks instead of by sea,” he said.
Talks with Japan
Biazon said he had discussed the two possible measures with members of the Diet, or the Japanese parliament, and Japanese diplomats, but only informally.
“Yes, [we talked about how to] weaken [Chinese might] through an alliance of nations. That’s what I discussed with Japanese parliamentarians and some of their diplomats,” he said.
He clarified, however, that the discussions were “individual opinions” only, and there were, as yet, no formal talk on sanctions against China, economic or otherwise.
The European Union, in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the aggression by Russian armed forces in Ukraine, has taken measures against Russia such as impeding its access to European capital markets, among other things.
Biazon said it was highly likely that the United Nations arbitration tribunal would rule in the Philippines’ favor against China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea.
But “there is no concrete strategy yet on how to force China to abide by the ruling, if the ruling of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is in our favor,” he said.
A ruling by the UN tribunal is expected later this year.
On Thursday, China accused the Philippines of “political provocation” in seeking international arbitration, calling its decision to lodge a case with the tribunal “irresponsible to the Filipino people and the future of the Philippines.”
China has refused to participate in the arbitration process.
Manila initiated arbitration proceedings in January 2013 after Beijing refused to withdraw its ships from the disputed Panatag Shoal (international name: Scarborough Shoal) in a US-brokered end to a two-month maritime standoff.
Biazon said the big question was how to make China heed the ruling of the UN tribunal, should it rule in the Philippines’ favor.
“Perhaps all of us can accept the truth that we cannot do this individually as a country. It is the United Nations that can implement it,” he said.
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