The Philippines will not rock China's boat

Source:Global Times Published: 2011-7-21 3:12:00

A group of Filipino lawmakers landed on China's Zhongye Dao Island in the South China Sea Wednesday and raised their national flag as a means of further asserting their country's claim to the region.

They displayed a banner with the words "the Western Philippine Sea" for media photos, which was an obvious move aiming to irritate China.

This is a favorite tactic by legislators in some Southeast Asian countries to woo domestic support. It is too easy for them to land on the island and they are thus able to secure applause at home.

Furthermore, it is not easy for the countries involved in the South China Sea dispute to stop this kind of behavior. They need to commit great diplomatic leverage and resources.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has voiced its protests over this move by the Filipino lawmakers but they will make no difference. China's attitude does not need to be swayed by the activities of a few Filipino lawmakers. A national flag of the Philippines raised on the Chinese islands will by no means change the facts.

There is no need to be bothered by every action of the Philippines, given the distance of the country from China. China has a lot of room to negotiate with the Philippines and many ways to deal with the Philippines' provocation.

Clashing with neighboring countries is the last thing China wants. This is not out of timidity but out of a desire to keep a harmonious environment.

But if necessary, China will face the challenges head-on. The risk of an overall confrontation is bigger to neighboring countries. There is little worry for China in breaking off relations with the Philippines.

China holds sovereignty over the Zhongye Dao Island, a fact the Philippines cannot change whatever hardline approach it may resort to.

China advocates a peaceful solution to settling the South China Sea disputes. It is a pragmatic and sincere suggestion.

If the Philippines think to gain an advantage by rocking the boat, it may go right ahead.

Posted in: Viewpoint

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