Xinhua Writer Chen Shilei
BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — The legalization of a military deal signed by Manila and Washington in 2014, a move seen as to make the Philippines a launching pad for U.S. military intervention in the Asia-Pacific, will only escalate tensions and undermine peace and stability in the region.
The deal will allow U.S. troops to build facilities to store equipment for maritime security and humanitarian and disaster response operations, as well as provide broad access to Philippine military bases.
It seems very peculiar that the Philippines, which stopped hosting two of the largest overseas U.S. military bases in the early 1990s, invited the U.S. troops home again, despite strong domestic criticism, at a time when the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized.
It is easy to deduce that Manila, which has long been involved in a dispute with Beijing over claims on some South China Sea islands, appears to be now turning to Uncle Sam to back its ambition to counter China.
It is contradictory that the United States, which has repeatedly called for peacefully solving the South China Sea issue, increased its military presence in the region that only will aggravate regional tensions and could push the situation to the brink of war.
On the one hand, U.S. President Barack Obama, during his visit to the Philippines in April 2014, reiterated that signing the military pact with Manila was not to “contain” China.
On the other hand, it is no secret that some U.S. politicians clarified that the deal was inked “as Manila finds itself the target of Chinese coercion in the West Philippine Sea and is looking to Washington for leadership.”
In this regard, the deal is groundless because China, which sticks to a defensive defense policy, has never coerced any country on the South China Sea issue but has been calling on concerned parties to peacefully solve maritime disputes through negotiations.
In fact, it is the United States, the world policeman, that wants to meddle in Asian affairs under the guise of “enhancing defense cooperation” between it and the Philippines.
Furthermore, it is ridiculous that Washington, while advocating “upholding international law,” signed a deal with a country that spares no expense to sacrifice its sovereignty, Constitution and public opinion to achieve its questionable goal.
Through declaring the deal constitutional, Manila has reversed democratic gains achieved when huge U.S. military bases were shut down in 1991, ending nearly a century of American military presence in the country.
Besides, bringing U.S. troops home again shows the shortsightedness of the Philippine government.
Manila hopes to increase its ability to deal with the South China Sea issue under the protection of its big brother, the United States. But it may forget that it is easy to call the U.S. troops in but difficult to send them away.
The U.S. military intervention in the Asia-Pacific will only escalate tensions in the region, of which the Philippines is an indispensable part. Manila has to bear the negative consequences of its stupid move in the future. Therefore, it is advisable that it solves disputes with China through negotiations without seeking help from a third party.