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CARPIO’S STATEMENT ON CHINESE DEPLOYMENT OF BOMBER PLANES IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

PH urged to unite with rival claimants in opposing China’s militarization

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 07:12 AM May 22, 2018

The Philippines and other claimants should band together and oppose China’s increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said on Monday.

For the nth time, Carpio called on the Duterte administration to bring a formal diplomatic protest opposing China’s  militarization of the disputed waterway, the latest of which was the deployment of nuclear-capable bomber planes in the Paracels.

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According to international military analysts, the successful landing of the H-6K bomber, which has a combat radius of 3,520 kilometers, on Woody Island puts all of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, within China’s striking range.

“Any self-respecting sovereign state will immediately formally protest such encroachment on its sovereignty and sovereign rights. The Philippines must do no less,” Carpio said in an e-mail to the Inquirer.

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Consenting to China’s claim

“Failure to formally protest means the Philippines is acquiescing or consenting to the militarization and, worse, to the claim of China that all the islands, waters and resources within the nine-dash line form part of Chinese territory,” Carpio said, referring to marking on Chinese maps denoting China’s claim to nearly 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea.

Carpio, part of the legal team that argued the Philippine case in the challenge to China’s sweeping claim the country brought to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2013, played down President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that asserting Philippine sovereignty would lead to war.

“A formal protest is recognized by the United Nations’ Charter as a peaceful and legitimate response [to a territorial dispute],” Carpio said.

Carpio warned that China may soon land similar long-range bombers on the 3-km military grade runways it had built on three Philippine-claimed reefs in the Spratly archipelago—Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi) and Kagitingan (Fiery Cross).

Last month, the Inquirer reported that two Chinese military transport planes had landed on Panganiban Reef.

Carpio said the Philippines should solicit the help of neighboring countries that were also claiming territory in the South China Sea.

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Aside from the Philippines and China, Brunei, Malaysia,  Vietnam and Taiwan claim parts or all of the strategic waterway where islets, reefs and atolls are believed to be sitting atop vast energy reserves.

Harness world opinion

“[The] Philippines must now coordinate with other claimant-states, as well as other states that see a threat to freedom of navigation and overflight, in resisting China’s militarization of the South China Sea,” Carpio said.

“Failure to coordinate and to harness world opinion to support the arbitral ruling, will be handing over to China on a silver platter the West Philippine Sea,” he added, referring to the waters within the Philippines’ 370-km exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea and to the UN-backed court’s decision that invalidated Beijing’s claim to nearly all of the waterway where $5 trillion in global trade passes annually.

Carpio said Beijing’s efforts to put up military installations in the Spratlys and the Paracels was part of its “three-warfare strategy” to have full control of the South China Sea for its own economic and military gains.

He said China was building huge air and naval bases to “intimidate into submission” the Philippines and other rivals for territory in the South China Sea.

“China’s third warfare strategy is to display its overwhelming military superiority to force other claimant states into submission without China firing a single shot,” he said.

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TAGS: Antonio Carpio, China bombers, China-Philippines relations, maritime dispute, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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