Internationally known as the Scarborough shoal, “named after a tea-trade ship Scarborough which was wrecked on the rock with everyone perishing on board in the late 18th century”
It is not a question of sovereignty alone, but a question of abiding by the most basic of international laws which clearly China has violated time and time again. They have shown us that they have no respect for the privacy or territory of other nations. Diplomacy as well does not seem to exist in their vocabulary.
Back in the years of 1998-2002, many Chinese fishermen were already arrested for entering Philippine waters and using illegal methods of fishing and catching endangered species around Scarborough Shoal. Now in the recent weeks, China is going as far as to claim it as their own. They profess that the Scarborough Shoal, or Huangyan Island, as they call it, was first discovered it in 1270, and drawn in a map during the Yuan Dynasty. Such claims stand no ground against the tantamount historical data and legal evidence, explicitly indicating the Scarborough shoal as a territory of the Philippines.
China’s claims are downright ridiculous. Even in the manner in which they defend their claims is through a show of brute force by continuously sending vessels to the Scarborough Shoal, rather than by providing any kind of legitimate basis of ownership. They have also refused to settle the dispute to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), as proposed by the Department of Foreigh Affairs. The DFA has however resolved to continue with raising the dispute internationally whether China is on board or not.
Of course, when it comes down to brawn, or military capacity, the Philippines is on the losing end compared to the giant China. It is without question, that we will need foreign assistance, specifically from our long-time allies, the United States. Not only as the acting heroes of the world, particularly the vindicators of smaller nations, the United States will also have an agenda on the Shoal as it provides an advantageous leverage in their silent geopolitical battle with China
“Wan’t to be a world power? First be a citizen of the world and follow the rule of law, “says Loida Lewis, who has arranged demonstrations around the world.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSLEF
If history has taught us anything, it is that many past events do not remain in history. Ironically in fact, it repeats itself, and sometimes the victors and the victims change roles. On a magnified scale, we saw in World War II, the horrendous atrocities committed by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Japan. These aggressors, through perceived beliefs of superiority over other races, saw it justifiable to massacre multitudes and subjugate weaker nations.
Once tortured by Japan, decades later, the tides have turned, and today we see China emerging as a world power, treading along those very same fundamentals they abhorred. The stand-off at Scarborough Shoal has become more than an issue of trespassing international soil, but it has become a foreshadowing of China’s plan to exert itself as the dominant power at any cost, even if it means usurping international regulation.
China need not spell out the words to us, but this is a threat. Together, the Philippines as a nation should stand their ground on Scarborough shoal. To put it simply, we should not allow our nation to be oppressed by China. This marks only the beginning. If we back down, it may open the door to a series of more detrimental domino effects, not just for the Philippines, but for the rest of Asia, and the world.