It was once the great French General Napoleon Bonaparte who predicted as early as the 18th century or 300 years ago that “China is a sleeping lion and when the lion awakes, the world will shake.”
The arbitrary and unilateral claim of China of the entire South China Sea and total disregard as to whoever will oppose her is a manifestation that indeed the Asian lion has awaken and the earth is shaken.
Many will ask: Why has China, the very soft spoken but extremely intelligent warrior, become a bully?
We say it’s the centuries-old humilition of China by the West starting from the Opium War that triggered its determination to strengthen itself and fight back and totally resist all its Western counterparts notably the United States and Britain.
Now that China has grown economically and by its vast manpower, it has become the newly awakened Asian bully who initiated the grand claim of the trillion kilometer South China Sea.
What is the wealth of the South China Sea? It is the place where 5.3 trilion dollars of trade pass; underneath the South China Sea is 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits and125 billion barrels of oil lie beneath its surface; it is a place where six countries lay claim to overlapping parts of it; and it is this wide sea lane that China has surrounded with nine dashes that represent China’s territorial claim of 90% of the South China Sea to the exclusion of six other countries which it has literally bullied for years now as if to say I don’t give a damn, this is mine.
This despite China being a co-signatory of the UNCLOS, United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas. Trouble is, there is no executive authority who will found signatory states to any UNCLOS agreement. So China has bound itself and made its nine dash lines as their own version of UNCLOS.
It has been three years since the Philippines sued and won its case in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. But China will not budge because there is no enforcement mechanism to that effect.
Besides, if the Phlippines brings this to the Security Council, the veto power of China will simply hold other major countries at bay because there are bigger world issues at hand which needs China’s vote…
So what option is there left for the Philippines and other claimant countries against this new giant? We say we opt to a mutual sharing agreement with all Asian neighbors-claimants over China’s vast resources in the South China Sea which can not easiy be consumed till kingdom come ; transform the Spratlys into an international hotel and tourist destination like the Bahamas so people will enjoy and no longer claim exclusivity. A tourist haven in the South China Sea will be a war deterrent…
The art of war by Sun Tzu, says that “by knowing one’s enemy one is assured of strength for a thousand battles.” By diplomatic negotiations among Asian neighbors it will appease other nations through collaborative efforts driven by peace and prosperity… thus avoiding the tragedies of war.