Thursday, April 24, 2014
Cool heads must prevail in Huangyan spat
Global Times | May 11, 2012 00:50
By Global Times
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The month-long Huangyan crisis has cost Chinese society quite a few resources. Besides the public's emotion and diplomatic maneuvers, the military might also have made plans for the use of force. But in the South China Sea region, the future may be rife with similar incidents.

Fully stopping Manila's provocation over Huangyan may be difficult. Perhaps we need to adjust our mentality to better deal with this thorny issue.

As the largest power in the region, China can be confident in solving the puzzle of South China Sea disputes.

Put another way, no matter what steps the Philippines may take, and what the US' strategy is in the region, they will not be a barrier to China's willingness to protest its territory.

China's rapid development further backs up this willingness. As long as China keeps its resolve not to give up islands within the nine-dotted line, their occupation by Manila and Hanoi will only be temporary.

The current disputes resulted from the country's weak naval capability in guarding the area in previous decades, giving the Philippines and Vietnam the opportunity to seize these uninhibited islands.

This is a pity. To solve the issue, a realistic approach, rather than impulsive actions, should be adopted. The Huangyan crisis can be a turning point, through which clear signals should be sent: China has shown enough good will. Further provocation will lead to serious consequences.

A resolution is definitely needed, but it does not mean following Manila's every step.

Neither does the dispute merit the attention of the whole nation.

A territorial dispute is basically a zero-sum game with each side sticking to its claim.

Negotiation can be a means to ease tensions and facilitate bargaining. But as the issue increasingly comes under the media's full scrutiny, the possibility of solving territorial disputes through equal negotiation is decreasing.

Manila will only seek negotiation or shelve disputes after suffering great losses and grave lessons. Otherwise, talk will not lead to anything even there is one in place. The Philippines will repeat the trick again and again.

It will be a winding road. The final solution lays in diplomacy and maritime law enforcement agencies. Soon, public attention will shift to other hot issues.

This is normal. We do not need to follow each radical statement uttered by Philippine officials.

China only needs to strike a good balance between solving the South China Sea issue and maintaining a favorable strategic environment.

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