While most Chinese are vehemently calling for their government to order the PLA to deal a heavy blow at the Philippines in order to teach it a lesson, the Chinese government persists in pursuing a peaceful solution even though the face-off was described by former Philippine foreign minister Domingo Siazon as “between an elephant and an ant”. In its report “Manila stuns the world by standing up to Beijing”, SCMP believes US intervention may be a factor.
However, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton clearly announced that America would not take side in the disputes, but Chinese government’s attitude remains unchanged in spite of the rise of nationalism at home.
Why? What is the mystery behind that?
In fact, the Philippines wants a quick solution due to the oil and gas reserve in the area that may bring billions of US dollars to its coffer, but that is a small amount for China who has a foreign exchange reserve of US$3 trillion. For China, it is mainly an issue of national dignity. It is willing to maintain the status quo as long as its national dignity is respected.
The Philippines will always be under threat as the Chinese navy grows increasingly powerful, while China can deal with any Philippine challenge with contempt.
Chinese leaders seem to be wise and understand the fear that China’s sudden rise may give rise among its neighbours and all the world powers. The “elephant” can easily conquer the “ant”, but China will set an image as a bully and every other country will be on its guard against China. There have been lots of talks about China being encircled by America and its allies when America decided to station 2,500 troops in Australia. Encircling China with such a small military force is ridiculous, but it certainly reflects China’s neighbours’ worry. If China attacks the Philippines against world opinion, the encirclement after that will be a real one and China will, in addition, be isolated.
China is now exporting its Chinese model. Following China’s example, North Korea is now establishing Sino-North Korean joint ventures for China to utilise the natural resources and cheap labour. North Korea will export lots of goods to China. This will make North Korea rich and greatly improve people’s living standards. North Korea will in turn become a growing market for Chinese exports. North Korea’s Kim Dynasty, if follows the Chinese model, will become popular. That will be the only way out for Kim Jong-un to maintain the survival of his dynasty.
The transformation of North Korea from poverty to prosperity will set a North Korean model that will be eagerly followed by China’s other neighbours. In fact, China is now investing heavily in Cambodia and other ASEAN countries and will perhaps set, in addition, a Cambodian model. The vast and populous eastern Asia region will become sources of natural resources and cheap labour and a growing market for China while China will offer its huge market for those neighbouring countries.
Decades ago,Japan shed lots of blood to fight for the establishment of its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere but failed disastrously. However, it seems that China will succeed in establishing a greater Asia co-prosperity sphere centred on China without firing one bullet if it succeeds in setting North Korean and Cambodian models.
China certainly will not allow its marine territorial disputes with the Philippines to affect the achievement of that ambition.
- Manila stuns the world by standing up to Beijing (chinadailymail.com)
- China reach in focus at-US-Philippine security talks (chinadailymail.com)
- Philippines-China Standoff Could Spin out of Hand (abcnews.go.com)
- China seen wielding economic clout in standoff with Philippines (globalnation.inquirer.net)