Opinion / Web Comments

Taking advantage of China’s peaceful stance

By Ming Yang (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2012-06-30 17:32

In spite of China’s protests, Manila persists in infringing upon China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea. Establishing a kindergarten on Zhongye Island (called Pagasa Island by the Philippines) is its latest attempt to exacerbate the situation.

Zhongye Island, occupied by the Philippines by force since the 1970s, is the second-largest island in the Nansha Islands, also known as Spratly Islands. Philippine officials said the school opened on June 15 without fanfare to help a poor Filipino community on the island and not to antagonize rival claimants.

Undoubtedly, it is in fact a part of Philippines' delicate plan to permanently claim sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. On the one hand, Philippine officials could encourage more families to live on the island by offering them free food, shelter, electricity, water and now, education. On the other hand, it will add to China’s difficulty in taking back the island as more kids are accommodated at the school.

Such an action reminds us of Vietnam challenging China's sovereignty by sending monks to the isles of Nansha Island to refurbish the temples and hold rituals starting in April. While continuing to use military and administrative methods to retain control of the islands, they start to play soft tricks to get the advantage in the territorial disputes. They are trying to take moral stands and win support from the international community once the territorial disputes with China worsened.

For a long time, China showed restraint in the disputes over South China Sea. However, China's stance in a peaceful resolution of territory disputes seems to be misinterpreted by the Philippine side. It’s unwise to challenge China’s determination to safeguard territorial integrity and sovereignty. If China's constant diplomatic claims won’t work anymore, it must consider effective alternatives.

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