Council arguing that China’s actions constitute a threat to peace.
China will veto any resolution not to its liking. Three, organize a massive Filipino flotilla of civilian craft to sail to Second Thomas Shoal to bring supplies and gifts to the beleaguered marines. Provide escorts to monitor this flotilla. Four, consult with the United States in an effort to obtain a public declaration of support similar to U.S. affirmations that Japan has administrative control over the Senkaku islands. Five, issue an invitation to U.S. Marines to join their Philippine counterparts on Second Thomas Shoal for a practical workshop on maritime surveillance. Conduct repeated follow on workshops Q3. Some Philippine officials fear that China might take over or occupy this shoal if the Philippines submits its memorial to the Arbitral Tribunal on or before March 30.
Do you think this is a strong possibility? What are China’s intentions at Second
Thomas Shoal? ANSWER: It is doubtful that China would react to the submission of the Philippines memorial by seizing Second Thomas Shoal. China has only to wait it out until it
exhausts the Philippines’ capacity to resupply the marines.
The submission of the memorial only begins the arbitral process. The Arbitral Tribunal, once it receives the memorial, will review it to make two determinations. First, does the Philippines have a case in international law. And secondly, does the Tribunal have jurisdiction to hear the case. Any answer in the negative will benefit China by preserving the status quo. If the Arbitral Tribunal decides in the affirmative, the process of reaching a decision on the Philippines claim will take time to resolve. China has plenty of opportunity to pick its moment t make further encroachments. The longer time it takes the tenure of the Aquino (and Obama) administration will run out. China may hope to influence the next Philippine government. Q4. The U.S. has called China's blocking of Philippine supplies to its troops at Second Thomas Shoal
‘provocative.’ What are the stakes for the U.S. in this p
articular stand-off over the Second Thomas Shoal and how do you think the U.S. will handle this dilemma? ANSWER: U.S. credibility is on the line. Already the Obama Administration is being lambasted for not showing leadership on Syria and Russian intervention in the Crimea. At the same time, the U.S. is negotiating enhanced defense engagement with the Philippines in order to increase its rotational presence. What good does an increased U.S. rotational presence serve if it does not deter China? Second Thomas Shoal represents a special case. It has been inhabited by Filipino marines continually since 1999. This is in contrast to the situation at Scarborough Shoal. The U.S. does not want to be drawn into a conflict with China or see it relations with Beijing negatively influenced over Second Thomas Shoal. U.S. inaction will only spur China to step up its pressure on the Philippines. China is seeking to use specific examples, like Second Thomas Shoal, as an object lesson to regional states as it advances its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.