Author Topic: PRC’s Aggression in South China Sea Needs to Be Defeated  (Read 322 times)

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Offline Kamaji

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PRC’s Aggression in South China Sea Needs to Be Defeated
« on: August 16, 2023, 11:25:01 am »
PRC’s Aggression in South China Sea Needs to Be Defeated

The Stand-Off at Second Thomas Shoal is a Moment of Historical Importance

By James E. Fanell and Bradley A. Thayer
August 15, 2023

Ahard lesson from the 1930s and from the Cold War is that aggression must be checked when it occurs. Inevitably, aggressors start small, with narrow claims, that if unchecked escalate to major conflict. The world is witnessing this aggression today in the South China Sea. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has used brute force to assert their “territorial” claim over the South China Sea, a sea area 30% larger than the Mediterranean Sea, where some $5 trillion worth of goods transit each year. On August 5, Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ships, the size of a U.S. Navy destroyer and with reinforced hulls for ramming, obstructed the Republic of the Philippine’s, an American treaty ally, resupply mission to their outpost aboard the ex-U.S. Navy WWII-era ship, the Sierra Madre, at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.

As the U.S. State Department noted, the PRC’s CCG ships fired water cannons and employed unsafe blocking maneuvers which “interfered with the Philippines’ lawful exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and jeopardized the safety of the Philippine vessels and crew…by impeding necessary provisions from reaching the Filipino servicemembers stationed at Second Thomas Shoal.” Additionally, and for at least the second time, the State Department reaffirmed that “an armed attack on Philippine public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces—including those of its Coast Guard in the South China Sea—would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S. Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty” (MDT).

Unperturbed by the State Department’s announcement, the PRC’s Embassy in Manila has twice called on the Philippines to remove the ship that was run aground in 1999, which lies well within their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as Beijing was threatening to seize it as well. For their part the new Chief of Staff of the Philippines Armed Forces, General Romeo Brawner, labeled the attack as an “act of war.”

The PRC’s barbarism at Second Thomas Shoal is not new or unexpected for anyone who has watched their actions in the South China Sea for the past three decades. Starting with Beijing’s illegal seizure of Mischief Reef, now a major Chinese Naval Air Station, from the Philippines in 1995 or their seizure of Scarborough Shoal in 2012, the PRC has not wavered from achieving its stated goal of territorial sovereignty over the South China Sea.

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