‘PREPARE for suicide missions,’ so ordered by President Duterte in the wake of confirmed reports that more than a hundred Chinese vessels had moored since January this year in Pag-asa, an island long occupied by Filipinos.
Duterte’s impending order for suicide missions is addressed to the military — if and when the Philippine-occupied island comes under a threat.
He says things would be different if an island occupied by Filipinos in the disputed waters is threatened.
And indeed, the threat is so serious enough that the country’s ally, the U.S. had issued a statement saying Washington is troubled by the aggressive activity of China in the disputed South China Sea, in this case a Philippine-held territory that is the Kalayaan Group of Islands.
The U.S. sees this as a concern, somewhat aggressive and provocative and that China’s action is unnecessary and unwarranted.
Such stance is a clear violation of Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, as defined under international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Since he assumed office, Duterte has adopted a non-confrontational approach in territorial spats with Beijing while seeking Chinese infrastructure funds, trade and investment.
He has often lashed out at the security policies of the U.S., a treaty ally, while praising China and Russia.
Duterte has to walk a tightrope when discussing China's increasingly assertive actions in the disputed waters, where Manila and Beijing, along with four other governments, have wrangled for control of territory.
If China insists on expanding her territorial greed in the disputed islands including in a Philippine-held island, then a confrontation is likely to happen with an immense disastrous impact in the Asean region.
That said, the country is seriously staking its claim, but if China insists on its position, trouble of immeasurable magnitude is likely to happen any time soon.
Duterte says he has no choice but to send the navy and marines on a suicide mission—a move duly praised by his critics at the expense of the more than 100 million population now facing annihilation from the face of the Earth.
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