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The program is on

Erick  San Juan

THROUGH the years, I closely monitored China’s moves either by soft or hard power, influencing countries like ours due to our alliance with the US. Even before the advent of the Internet, I have written about the imminent war betwen US-China and if that happens all their allies could be dragged into a global war just like in our case. Like what I always say as a reminder that when the program is on, it can be delayed but it will push through just like this war. Unfortunately, the drums of war are getting louder this time and the fear of many is just one button away from a nuclear war.

This is the reason why I never get tired reminding our government and the past administrations that China’s goal of making Luzon their province will soon happen if we allow it. I am with former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez in his detailed article, “The Philippines faces a very serious security challenge in two fronts and  how it plays out could critically affect the balance of power in the Asia Pacific Region and beyond,”  referring to the Scarborough Shoal and Benham Rise.

Golez said of the Chinese activities: “I do not believe the survey ship conducted harmless scientific research contrary to what the Chinese officially announced. I believe it conducted what it is capable of doing to promote China’s interest and prejudice Philippine interest.”

A former Navy captain, Golez said China has two objectives: “(1) Oceanographic survey – to determine the characteristics of the undersea, study the thermocline patterns; data on thermoclines are very  important for identifying possible submarine hiding areas, which are of  critical importance in future submarine warfare in China’s so-called First and Second Island Defense Chains;

“(2) Hydrographic seismic survey – to study what could be under the seabed, to determine through sound reflection and refraction possible oil and gas. Considering the vastness of Benham Rise, the likelihood of such  deposits is very strong, many times larger than at Malampaya (westside, in Palawan).

“I believe China is interested on Benham Rise because of two strategic reasons:

“Oceanographic data for use in future attack and ballistic submarine deployment.

“Data on strategic natural resources like: fish (China’s food supply is getting very critical) and energy (oil, gas, methane etc. they need alternate supplies to support their rapid industrialization and help ease their Malacca dilemma wherein around 80 percent of their oil supply can be interdicted or blockaded in the Malacca Strait or even the Indian Ocean)

“China’s long range plans for sure include soft targets they can seize using hard power or using soft power and skillful diplomacy and alliance building to secure their geopolitical objectives and strategic food and energy resources.

“I submit that Benham Rise is one of them. It’s a big, strategic objective.

“A master of diplomacy like China would certainly aspire to make the Philippines a part of its orbit in the same manner that it is building alliances in the Indian Ocean, far Africa and South America using their soft power.

“Why would the Philippines and Benham Rise be of strategic interest to China?

“It’s because of the geo-strategic concept of The First Island Chain and The Second Island Chain.”

In China’s goal of securing these two island chains, the Philippines is in the middle and the only way to achieve their goal is to annex our country just like their plan with Taiwan.

Benham Rise, as I wrote before, could be the next Pearl Harbor as we see the confluence of events and the present leadership must be very wary in dealing with China and not believe China hook, line and sinker.

China lied many times before regarding the status of the contested area in the South China Sea, all for civilian use but now it’s a military fortress. And God forbid that they will do that again in Benham Rise. Be very wary, Mr. President.

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About Erick San Juan

Erick San Juan is a political analyst, book author, writer, forum moderator, TV and radio broadcast commentator. He's the managing director of News Asia and a former director of the National Security Council. He's a doctor of letters.

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