As ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meets to discuss the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC), the United States sends its flagship to the Philippines. In response to the ongoing egregiousness acts by the Chinese in recent weeks, the United States deployed the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), based in Yokosuka, Japan, to the Philippines. Within the same timeframe, the Philippines has also renegotiated a deal with the United States allowing them to deploy military assets to certain areas within the Philippines—for both relief from disasters and assisting with annoying neighbors.
As I blogged earlier, with China’s glaring violation of the DoC by blocking the resupply vessels—an action that is not “peaceful” and is definitely “threat or use of force”—the Philippines have determined China is a “clear and urgent threat” and needs to be dealt with. Having run out of options, with China taking pawn after pawn, the Philippines is now forced to react more strongly to China’s actions since diplomacy has obviously failed. In this case, the Queen (United States Navy) has moved into play—if only for a short while, as a show of force—to hopefully reinforce the DoC and return the region to the status quo. It is unlikely the meeting in ASEAN will produce anything other than another satisfying round of talks, in which all countries gather together and agree that something needs to be done—completely my opinion and I apologize in advance if anyone is offended. While I think it is a great achievement that ASEAN is able to get multiple countries together to talk about issues; however, more than just talk, I wish they could follow-through and implement these decisions.
The next big questions are – what will happen next and who is winning? With the crisis going on in the Ukraine with Crimea and Russia; China is most definitely watching the United States’ reaction. If China were to make a grab for land (islands/shoal), similar to the Russians… would the United States only reply with sanctions? Yes, the US has a defense treaty with both the Philippines and Japan—both of which have territorial disputes with China, and both are seeing a stronger show of force by China… but how will the United States respond if something were to occur? What are your thoughts and why?
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(photo from http://www-scf.usc.edu/ )