The situation in the South China Sea is escalating rapidly as the two sides play for control over resources. One side is China, claiming ownership of the mineral rights in the sea bed; on the other US backed Philippines and Vietnam are pushing for oil resources in the same area. The economic interests of the two super powers are risking possible open warfare in South East Asia.
Previously Vietnam has accused China of intentionally damaging a oil exploratory boat by cutting its survey lines. The Philippines has made blatantly false accusations against China. The Philippine military claimed that China sent two MiG 29a fighters to harass Philippine jets. However it was later revealed that China doesn’t have MiG 29a fighters. Since then the accusation against China has been forgotten about.
China responded to these accusation:
“China does not accept the groundless accusations from the Philippines … China urges the Philippines to stop unilateral actions that impair China’s sovereignty as well as maritime rights and interests and expand and complicate the South China Sea disputes, and to stop making erroneous and irresponsible remarks.”
– Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei
The rhetoric between the nations has become war like.
“We are ready to sacrifice everything to protect our homeland, our sea and island sovereignty.”
– President Nguyen Minh Triet
In response, Vietnam has announced that live-fire exercises will be taking place in the region. This action only serves to increase tensions . Its very rare that Vietnam ever does these kinds of drills, not only that, but they are not announced publicly. In fact this is the first time they have.
The US has sent a guided missile destroyer from Pearl Harbor to the Philippines to participate in joint military exercises. A US embassy spokesperson has said that the exercises have not been scheduled yet, but the ship will be patrolling the waters in question.
China has announced that it has begun construction on unoccupied islands in the disputed zone. However Philippine President Benigno Aquino announced that he was going to file protest with the UN calling its construction the “worst violation” of Philippine sovereignty. I find such a statement hilarious given the history of US occupation of the Philippines. Tens of thousands of US troops currently occupy the country, and frequently the Philippines is subjected to the worst US imperialism has to offer. Constantly Filipino women are raped by US service men and covered up. US business interests kill countless peasants and workers in the drive for profits.
This dispute over the resources in the South China has the potential to explode into a war if the situation is not solved quickly. The competing interests of the super powers China and the US with its client states is a dangerous situation. A situation that wouldn’t be occurring if the distribution of these resources was made according to human need, not profit making greed.
On a final note, I’d like to give a personal message to both China and Vietnam: Do you remember the 60’s? Remember the Vietnam War when China sent volunteers to man the anti-air defences of Hanoi? Remember the international solidarity that you two had back then. Both of you were part of the greatest international co-operation under socialism. Now that you’re both on capitalism, you’ve turned into enemies driving towards violence against one another. A return to socialism is the only thing that will restore the productive relationship you had.
China and Vietnam back to the path of socialism.