Japan allies with the Philippines against expansionist China

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South China Sea conflict
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Tensions between China and the Philippines over control of disputed territory in the South China Sea appear to be mounting. On July 27, on his last day of his Manila visit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo pledged Japan’s support for the Philippines in its dispute with an expansionist China.

In the past couple of years China has asserted claims to both Japanese and Filipino islands in apparent attempts to expand China’s sovereign territory. China and Japan have been engaged in a worrisome standoff over a handful of uninhabited islands west of the Japanese mainland that Japan has long had sovereignty over and calls the Senkaku Islands. For the past couple of years China has been aggressively claiming that the deserted islands, which it calls the Diaoyu Islands, actually belong to China. In the past year, China has even disputed Japan’s claim to Okinawa, long an essential part of the Japanese archipelago.

Over this same period of time China and the Philippines have been engaged in a number of disputes over traditional Filipino territory that China is now claiming. Last year China seized the Scarborough Shoal, an island cluster 140 miles east of the main Filipino Island that has long been under Filipino control, after the Philippines backed down. This year the Philippines has repeatedly complained about the presence of Chinese naval vessels around the Filipino-held Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly islands. And this week it was reported that Chinese coast guard ships have been spotted at Mischief Reef, off the western Philippines coast.

The underlying current is that China has been pushing the boundary lines of Chinese sovereign ocean territory closer and closer to the neighboring island and coastal nations. China’s endgame appears to be simply expanding China’s sphere of control, both militarily and commercially. How far exactly China intends to go with this expansionist spree is unclear, but Japan and the Philippines appear tired of waiting and hoping for the best.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Abe agreed to provide the Philippines with concessional loans to build 10 coast guard patrol ships. This came on the heels of two new coast guard ships provided by the U.S.A. On Saturday, Filipino President Benigno Aquino III and Prime Minister Abe expressed that maritime cooperation was a pillar of the countries’ strategic partnership, in a clear reference to the countries’ mutual resistance to China.

The Philippines has appealed to the United Nations to seek international arbitration, but China has indicated that it will not cooperate with any such efforts. The Philippines and Japan appear, at the moment, to want only to contain China’s expansion. Let’s hope that nothing more comes of this.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Click to enlarge

Tensions between China and the Philippines over control of disputed territory in the South China Sea appear to be mounting. On July 27, on his last day of his Manila visit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo pledged Japan’s support for the Philippines in its dispute with an expansionist China.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

South China Sea conflict
Click to enlarge

Tensions between China and the Philippines over control of disputed territory in the South China Sea appear to be mounting. On July 27, on his last day of his Manila visit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo pledged Japan’s support for the Philippines in its dispute with an expansionist China.

In the past couple of years China has asserted claims to both Japanese and Filipino islands in apparent attempts to expand China’s sovereign territory. China and Japan have been engaged in a worrisome standoff over a handful of uninhabited islands west of the Japanese mainland that Japan has long had sovereignty over and calls the Senkaku Islands. For the past couple of years China has been aggressively claiming that the deserted islands, which it calls the Diaoyu Islands, actually belong to China. In the past year, China has even disputed Japan’s claim to Okinawa, long an essential part of the Japanese archipelago.

Over this same period of time China and the Philippines have been engaged in a number of disputes over traditional Filipino territory that China is now claiming. Last year China seized the Scarborough Shoal, an island cluster 140 miles east of the main Filipino Island that has long been under Filipino control, after the Philippines backed down. This year the Philippines has repeatedly complained about the presence of Chinese naval vessels around the Filipino-held Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly islands. And this week it was reported that Chinese coast guard ships have been spotted at Mischief Reef, off the western Philippines coast.

The underlying current is that China has been pushing the boundary lines of Chinese sovereign ocean territory closer and closer to the neighboring island and coastal nations. China’s endgame appears to be simply expanding China’s sphere of control, both militarily and commercially. How far exactly China intends to go with this expansionist spree is unclear, but Japan and the Philippines appear tired of waiting and hoping for the best.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Abe agreed to provide the Philippines with concessional loans to build 10 coast guard patrol ships. This came on the heels of two new coast guard ships provided by the U.S.A. On Saturday, Filipino President Benigno Aquino III and Prime Minister Abe expressed that maritime cooperation was a pillar of the countries’ strategic partnership, in a clear reference to the countries’ mutual resistance to China.

The Philippines has appealed to the United Nations to seek international arbitration, but China has indicated that it will not cooperate with any such efforts. The Philippines and Japan appear, at the moment, to want only to contain China’s expansion. Let’s hope that nothing more comes of this.

Do you like this post?
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