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Conflict: Outside looking in

Erick San Juan

MAJORITY of Filipinos are concerned about the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, according to United States-based Pew Research Center.

In the regional poll, nine out of 10 respondents from the Philippines expressed the most concern about territorial conflicts in the region. Some 56 percent were very concerned while 35 percent were somewhat concerned.

This was followed by Vietnam and Japan, whose 83 percent of citizens were worried about the sea dispute with China. More Vietnamese are very concerned (60 percent) than the Japanese (52 percent). Those saying they are somewhat concerned were 23 percent in Vietnam and 31 percent in Japan.

Others who expressed fears of the territorial dispute were South Korea (78 percent), Australia (63 percent), India (62 percent), Pakistan (45 percent), Malaysia (45 percent) and Indonesia (41 percent). (From various sources)

Such survey is long overdue to state that Filipinos and other countries in the region are worried and very concerned over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The mere fact that China has been very vocal on their increased military budget and display of firepower plus the massive reclamation operations are enough reasons that people in this part of the region should be very concerned. And actually the rest of the world to be nervous because any miscalculation and stupidity may cause a regional conflict that can actually lead to a global war.

This survey has also created a somewhat division among observers and analysts, one issue in point is who is the real threat in the region, the US or China? Who benefits from the survey? And most of all what could be the real motive of the said survey?
What worries pundits outside looking in was the recent statement of China’s President Xi Jinping at the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japan and the World Anti-Fascist War in Beijing, to quote: “In the interest of peace, China will remain committed to peaceful development. We Chinese love peace. No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation…..” Most intelligence analysts believe that the address of Xi could be following the line of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, a double speak. Translation-war,war,war!

Could this be the reason why more foreign warships of allies are in the area to protect nation-states? In one social network group through yahoo mail where I am an active participant, I gave my rejoinder by saying that to argue and fight over who the real threat is and how are we going to deal with China in the issue of the South China Sea are actually of lesser concern. I shared with the group that to argue over spilled milk will not help, we have to prepare for the worst. The worst mistakes our leaders did.

The reality is – we are not prepared at all to fight an external threat. What we have to face right now, domestically, is too much corruption veiled in the guise of rhetorics and play of words like ‘daan matuwid’ where officials are beholden to bribe givers, conniving with power brokers and foreign governments with vested interests.

There’s no accountability. “Nilalahat ko na.” After waltzing with their scheming funders, some of them even attempted to defy their local and foreign “boss.” Look what happened to them? Planned killing disguised as plane crash, assassination, proxy killing due to greed for power and vengeance against people who don’t want to tow the line anymore. Putting them behind bars to teach them a lesson and so many kinds of treachery in the “Book.”

We have to be ever vigilant. The immediate external enemies will not attack us frontally. The enemy is again from within. We have to review our history, especially the possible pattern of scenario when before the Second World War where the Japanese were the poor OFW’s who were actually “sleepers” (hibernated agents, spies and operators) who metamorphosed as officers and members of the Japanese Imperial Army.

I don’t want to sound like an alarmist but how sure are we that our friendly ethnic wealthy Chinese neighbors and siblings are still with us? Most of them strategically control in their pockets barangay officials, local politicians (few are now in the government service, military and law enforcement).

This is a nagging question that we have to consider in order to protect our country from forces within. Are we united to stand against such threat? This is the time we have to be serious and gather our act together if we want to win this battle. Be ever be vigilant and may God bless us all.


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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