Oppose US interference in the South China Sea conflict! Build people's solidarity to seek a peaceful resolution of Spratlys conflict!

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)
July 5, 2011

Long before the Aquino government resparked the Spratly Islands diplomatic conflict by accusing China of "intrusion", the US government had already set its sights on pushing to intensify its "power projection operations" in the South China Sea in order to counter what they call "China's aggressive action" in the region which the US imperialists view as an "anti-access environment" which threaten "the integrity of US alliances and security partnerships" and "reduces US security and influence."

Armed with a basic understanding of the imperialist thrusts of US military and defense strategies, one becomes acutely aware that in sparking the South China Sea dispute and the sudden and unprecedented vigorousness in asserting Philippine claims of sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, the Aquino government is only actively serving as a pawn of the US imperialists in its determined drive to impose its hegemony in the region. Aquino is playing its US-assigned role to the hilt in exchange for a few scraps of metal.

Since Aquino was summoned to the US warship Carl Vinson in May, his foreign affairs, security and military officials have engaged China in a diplomatic and political wrestling match. They have sparked diplomatic hostilities by accusing China of "intrusion" and issuing such bellicose statements as threatening to "fire back if attacked." Aquino politicians, certain political groups, and opinion writers are whipping up anti-China sentiments, even as they issue appeals for the US government to help the Philippines confront the "misbehaving bully".

All these help to boost the US objective of justifying its increased political, diplomatic and military involvement in the South China Sea. Citing provisions of the Mutual Defense Treaty, the US State Department recently declared that it would "provide needed material and equipment that may be needed by the Philippine military to defend its territory."

Aside from granting the Aquino regime access to second-hand war materiƩl under the the US military's Excess Defense Articles program, the Pentagon also said it was studying options for the Philippines to acquire "newer US military assets" at "cost-effective" rates. American security policy makers have long proposed "leasing" to the Philippines modern military weaponry including a F-16 fighter aircrafts, C-12 twin-engine aircrafts outfitted for martime patrol and counterinsurgency surveillance, helicopters and FFG-7 guided-missile frigates. American security officials are also pushing to forge a commercial agreement to allow the US military access to logistic support facilities in Subic Bay. The US also vowed to share intelligence information gathered from radar and satellite surveillance of the conflict area.

In a blatant display of gunboat diplomacy, US naval forces belonging to the US Pacific Command and the AFP conducted "joint planning exercises" last March and a "joint naval exercise" a few days ago off the western coast of Palawan which faces the South China Sea. A few months ago, a Hamilton-class Weather High Endurance Cutter from the US was deployed in the same area.

Promises of US military, intelligence and diplomatic assistance were welcomed by the sycophant officials of the Aquino regime who were effusive with their praise and gratitude to the US government. With the US being portrayed in the mainstream media as a "friend" that is "standing by" the Philippines, US spinmeisters appear to have succeeded in achieving a publicity coup.

The Filipino people must vigorously expose and oppose the US scheme to exacerbate the South China Sea conflict and justify US intervention. US claims that it is helping defend Philippine sovereignty is plain hogwash. In reality, it is the Philippine puppet Aquino regime that is standing by its US imperialist master in stoking the fires of the Spratly Islands dispute in order to provide justification for the US to extend its military might in the South China Sea, ensure the "freedom of navigation" of US commodities to the Southeast Asian region and perpetuate US global hegemony.

The US imperialists have long been wary of the strategic rise of China as an economic and military giant. For the past four decades, the US has worked with the anti-communist and revisionist forces in the Communist Party of China and the Chinese goverment in order to subvert the ruling party and state. They have overseen the degeneration of China from a prosperous socialist country to a rotten capitalist nation. However, to the chagrin of the US imperialists, the Chinese government continues to exercise a large measure of independence economically, militarily and in the field of foreign policy.

The US unilaterally considers itself as the only country that has the right to extend its hegemony beyond its national boundaries. All others who harbor such imperialist ambitions are condemned as "anti-access powers", i.e. forces that try to deny the US "the ability to project power into a region." Thus, China's efforts to build up its naval and air forces and extend its economic interests are denounced by the US as "threats to freedom of navigation."

In extending its military tentacles towards the South China Sea, the US specifically seeks to counterbalance China's effort to develop and field large numbers of advanced medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles, new attack submarines equipped with advanced weapons, increasingly capable long-range air defense systems, electronic warfare and computer network attack capabilities, advanced fighter aircraft, and counter-space systems. It seeks to neutralize China's Hainan island naval base which it believes hosts underground submarine pens which can support both strategic and tactical nuclear attack submarines. The US trembles at the prospect of China having control over the South China Sea lanes, a crucial international trade route, in the same way that the US imperialists controls crucial sea lanes in other parts of the world.

The CPP and the Filipino people condemn the puppet Aquino regime for kowtowing to its imperialist master and to the US foreign policy of global hegemony by hyping up the Spratly Islands conflict, issuing undiplomatic and agitative statements against China and allowing the US to deploy its military machinery in the conflict area in the guise of "coming to the defense" of the Philippines. At the same time, the Filipino people condemn the arrogance of China's sole claim over the disputed island, its refusal to recognize the claims of other nations and its refusal to engage in multilateral negotiations.

The Filipino people demand an actively independent and peace-loving foreign policy. They seek a peaceful resolution of the multi-country claims to the Spratly Islands free from US interference. They demand a stop to US interference in the South China Sea and the pullout of all of forwardly deployed military forces of the US in the South China Sea, including those that are based at the AFP Western Command headquarters in Puerto Princesa City and the AFP Southern Command headquarters in Zamboanga City.

The Filipino people call on the peoples of countries laying claim to the Spratly Islands to build people-to-people solidarity. A Southeast Asian peoples' alliance can be built to vigorously oppose the acquiescence of their governments to either the US' interventionist policy or China's insistence on its sole claim over the disputed area. They must demand US respect for the independent process of conflict resolution. At the same time, they must push for recognition of the equal rights of nations and peoples involved in the dispute.

They must push for multilateral negotiations free of US interference and demand that people's representatives be actively involved in such talks. These talks should be aimed at forging agreements that will serve the political and economic interest of the peoples of the region and their aspirations for peace.