Background Briefing:South China Sea: Can thePhilippines Restrain China?Carlyle A. ThayerJuly 9, 2012
[client name deleted]China now is a threat of many countries in ASEAN, especially Vietnam andPhilippines. Does the Philippines's act may make China restraint?
ANSWER: China’s military rise will directly challenge the dominant role that the US
Navy has played since 1945. The next decades will see manifestations of rivalry untilthe two superpowers learn how to manage their relations. As my earlier paper onmilitary-to-military contacts and strategic dialogues concluded, strategic mistrustremains after years of dialogue.
China’s military has been restrained. It is China’s paramilitary forces, China Marine
Surveillance and Fishery Law Enforcement Command, that have done all thedamage. China must always be restrained towards the Philippines with respect tothe use of force because the Philippines is a treaty ally of the United States. Chinacannot afford at this stage
to take risks of retaliation The Philippines’s actionsdirectly challenges China’s assertion of indisputable sovereignty over the South
China Sea. This only make Chinese nationalist more emboldened to urge action
toteach the Philippines a lesson. No one can stop China if it dispatches more and moresurveillance ships to the West Philippines Sea and blocks the Philippine Navy andCoast Guard from taking action.How about the presence of US in East Sea and how does Vietnam, also Philippinesshould do to be more stronger?ANSWER: The US presence directly counters China and makes it more cautiousmilitarily. But China is not deterred from using political pressure to get its way.Vietnam should keep on doing what it has been doing. First, maintain unity on thehome front and build up a self-reliant capacity to defend its interests in the East Sea.The means to gradually modernize the navy but it means more resources should goto developing the Marine Police. The Philippines has also adopted a territorialdefense strategy to modernize its armed forces and to shore up its alliance with theUnited States.Both Vietnam and the Philippines must work hard to retain the support of otherASEAN members. China is pursuing a divide and conquer strategy. Vietnam and thePhilippines must always adopt policies that make clear they are the victim of Chinese
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