First, let’s take a look at the South China Sea (SCS) and the countries around the border of that sea:
As you can see from the map, there are approximately ten countries within the borders of the SCS, and the closest ones to China around that sea are TAIWAN, VIETNAM and the PHILIPPINES. Thanks to their blatant and shameless insistence of aggressively trying to expand their already large territory, China has now antagonized ALL 3 of its closest neighbors.
Vietnam shares a border with China around the SCS, and unfortunately for them this proximity meant that they are at the receiving end of China’s bullying. Since the 1970s, Vietnam has been involved in no less than 2 skirmishes with China. And take note, these are very serious skirmishes involving the sinking of ships and the loss of lives. The first of these skirmishes is called the “Battle of the Paracel Islands” in 1974, which started when the then South Vietnam discovered Chinese troops and ships on the Paracel Islands, which they considered as part of the territory.
Both sides then started sending in troops and ships which eventually resulted in the minor battle involving 10 ships and up to Batallion-sized forces from both countries. China emerged as the victor, gaining total control of the islands while losing 18 troops and suffering damages on its 4 Corvettes. South Vietnam, on the other hand, lost 53 men and 1 Frigate, with further damages on 3 of its Frigates.
China fought again with the now reunited Vietnam in 1988 in another area of the South China Sea in what is now called the “Johnson South Reef Skirmish”. The skirmish started when troops from both countries entered the Johnson South Reef at the same time, each planting their own flag on the reef. Again, Vietnamese lives were lost in the resulting military confrontation, and a lot more this time with 64 troops dead and 2 ships (a Landing Craft and an Armed Transport) sunk. And China again won the skirmish by gaining total control of the reef while losing only 6 men.
These armed confrontations are the main reason why Vietnam, despite having a “poorer” economy than ours overall, sought to have a strong and powerful armed forces. Vietnam currently has almost 3 dozen Corvettes and Missile Boats, more than half a dozen modern Frigates, and will start having the first of their half a dozen Kilo-class Submarines this year. They also have close to 200 Anti-Ship Missiles (ASM) based on ships or the coast, including the latest BrahMos ASMs from India. Vietnam needs to be strong militarily in anticipation of a possible wider military confrontation with the Chinese Gorilla shit.
So China has a clear enemy its western side of the SCS in Vietnam, and in the east it also has an enemy in Taiwan. Most Filipinos know about the history of Taiwan and China, and how, typical of their stupidity, China also claims Taiwan as its own territory. The only thing that is keeping China from invading Taiwan outright is the United States, who have clearly sent the message to China that it is willing to intervene militarily if Taiwan is invaded. Since Taiwan’s founding at the end of World War 2, there has been 3 “Crisis” of either military skirmishes, or heightened military tensions between China and Taiwan, and EACH AND EVERYTIME the US has had to intervene by sending an Aircraft Carrier Fleet into the region.
The first Crisis involved China PHYSICALLY INVADING some of Taiwan’s islands in 1955, resulting in numerous loss of lives on both sides. The second Crisis came only 3 years later in 1958 when China started sending Artillery fire to some of Taiwan’s Islands, and dogfights between fighters from both countries also occurred, with both instances resulting in loss of lives again on either side. The third and latest crisis happened in 1996 when China started test-firing missiles on Taiwan’s coast. While no loss of lives occurred, it showed the still simmering tension between both countries.
Due to the constant threat of the Chinese Gorilla, Taiwan sought to have a well armed and advanced armed forces, with hundreds of armed aircrafts and more than 70 armed ships, and all of them highly advanced weapons platforms. Things have gone so well for them that they have now developed their own indigenous aircrafts, ships and even missiles. With their highly advanced armed forces plus the protection of the US, Taiwan continues to be the itch on the Chinese Gorilla’s back that it cannot scratch (HA-HA-HA-HA-HA …).
Among the 3 nearest countries to China in the SCS, the Philippines, which is South of China, is actually the farthest, which is probably why we are only starting to “feel” China’s bullying now. China actually started its “creeping invasion” (invasion by the “creep” that is China?) of the Philippines in 1994, when it started building structures in Mischief Reef. China was SNEAKY in this instance, occupying the reef with troops when the Philippine Navy suspended its patrols during the rainy season. After seeing the result of the Johnson South Reef Skirmish that occurred in 1988 where Vietnamese forces lost their lives and equipment, the Philippines decided NOT to militarily challenge China at Mischief Reef.
It took China another 18 years to again invade Philippine territory in 2012 in what is now known as the “Scarborough Shoal Standoff”. The Philippine Navy caught some Chinese Fishing Vessels around the shoal, but were prevented from arresting these ships by Chinese Surveillance Ships. The Chinese Navy has since then imposed a “Fishing Ban” on the area for all ships regardless of nationality. This is a clear and blatant encroachment of Philippine territory, it’s like a bully telling you that you cannot walk past a certain portion of the street or else you will get beaten up. And again the Philippines chose NOT to challenge Chine militarily.
And this is with good reason. The Philippine Armed Forces is one of the most BACKWARD in the entire Asia, with its troops almost never having had the experience of using missiles, or the experience of using digital technology. Most of its largest warships are World War 2 relics, still being forced to operate more than 70 years after they first entered service. So it is a good assumption that if Philippine forces are to confront China, even at a skirmish level, they will likely lose, and that Filipino lives will be lost.
From the above examples, we can learn a couple of things. First is that China has always shown an obsession of expanding its territory, and that they are willing to KILL people in order to do so, as they did with Vietnam and Taiwan. Second is that the only reason that Filipinos have not lost their lives yet to China is because of the government’s decision NOT to confront China militarily. The bad news with this policy is that it will only make China bolder in terms of stealing away our territory slowly.
China has since released a lot of statements and reports to their local PUPPET media antagonizing the Philippines, and even making even more threats. This to me indicates that they will CONTINUE to bully us when they can, they will continue to push us a little bit here, a little bit there because of our unwillingness to confront them. And the bad news is that the way I foresee it, China will keep pushing until we will finally have no choice but to confront them, and Filipino lives will be lost.
Because of China’s bullying, we really have no choice but to seek protection from no other than the United States of America. They are the only superpower who can stop China in its tracks. We can try to build up our forces now, but building a credible Armed Forces will take years, even decades, especially when we consider the fact that our AFP has never had any credible experience with advanced weaponry. Operating advanced equipment COMPETENTLY and procuring them in large enough numbers to deter China will take decades, and that is a luxury we do not have.
No thanks to China’s bullying, the Philippines is now entering an age of uncertainty, where it has to face the prospects of war with a belligerent neighbor. Hard choices will have to be made, and made IMMEDIATELY and DECISIVELY. If we are to be under a superpower, let it be under one who espouses true freedom of speech rather than one that exercises totalitarian rule over its people.
– Battle of the Paracel Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Paracel_Islands
– Johnson South Reef Skirmish, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnson_South_Reef_Skirmish
– Vietnamese Navy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese_Navy
– Scarborough Shoal Standoff, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarborough_Shoal_standoff
– First Taiwan Strait Crisis, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis
– Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis
– Third Taiwan Strait Crisis, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Taiwan_Strait_Crisis