More and more we are seeing how China is strengthening its foothold and expanding its influence in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) particularly in areas covered by the Philippine’s 200
nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone. This is clearly evident in another recent incident of so called ‘bullying’ by China where just a couple of days ago a larger Chinese coast guard ship blocked a Philippine patrol vessel travelling along a disputed shoal in the West Philippine Sea and which nearly caused a collision had the Philippine patrol vessel not immediately reversed its course
and steered itself away from a potential disaster.

The aggressive nature of these Chinese coast guard ships and their penchant for intimidation when
imposing their will against what they perceive as intrusion into waters that they claim as part of their territory only goes to show that there is now an urgent need and necessity for countries in South East Asia, at least those with similar claims over parts of the Spratly Islands and elsewhere in the West Philippine Sea, to band together and form a temporary military alliance in order to
defend each other in the event China will engage in more radical aggressive behavior
against one country.

To date there are six countries embroiled in what is called a regional maritime territorial sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea. These are China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. Of the six countries only China is the recognized superpower especially in the
area of military strength and capability. This particular advantage over the other contending countries is what makes China practically a bully and has no qualms in blatantly exhibiting its military might to intimidate and harass other nations in the South China Sea.

The recent near collision incident involving one of their coast guard ships with a patrol vessel of the
country was well documented since the Philippine patrol vessel was carrying a small group of journalists with the intention and aim of exposing the aggressive actions of China in that part of the South China Sea. So now that it has been proven how China brazenly intimidates and continues to harass other countries in the South China Sea it becomes of national interest not only for the
Philippines but for other countries with contending claims in the region to form a temporary defensive military alliance to bolster each other’s military strength and capabilities so that in case
China will go further with its attempt to bully say Vietnam or Malaysia then the said defensive military alliance can come into play.

Make no mistake about it China’s strategy of expanding its territory and sovereignty in the South China Sea can only be realized when all other countries that have claims in the region continue to remain divided and having no reasonable means of defending themselves in the event on extreme physical aggression from China. If the Philippines was able to enter into a Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States of America which is another superpower, then there is no reason why a similar agreement cannot also be established between the five other countries with territorial
claims in the South China Sea for the simple purpose of defending each other should a military conflict arise against China.

By banding together these countries will have a better chance of deterring China in conducting further aggressive and intimidating actions against any one of them. It is well to remember the saying that goes, “united we stand, divided we fall”. The Philippines can initiate steps to conduct high level military discussions and perhaps even negotiations with the four other countries, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei to realize some sort of defensive military alliance grounded on the condition that if any one of them is provoked or attacked in some way by China in connection with their territorial claim in the West Philippine Sea then all the other four countries shall extend military assistance to help that country subject of China’s aggressive action.

Finally, better to start now and lay the groundwork for the said defensive military alliance rather than wait until China has full and absolute control of all of the South China Sea. By then the idea of a defensive military alliance would have become moot.

Amianan Balita Ngayon