Chinese Navy head Wu Shengli made a very controversial remark a week or so ago shortly after US navy forces went on a patrol 12 nautical miles off Spratlys, particularly in the islands claimed by China as its own. The USS Lassen went ahead of its patrolling mission inspite of what Wu claims repeated Chinese warnings against such acts.
University of Macau professor Dingding Chen in an article at CNN, says China regards the Spratlys as part of its sovereign territory and Chen says the repeated pronouncements made by the Chinese leadership over its protection should not be taken lightly.
Meanwhile, the US already said that its naval warships will continue its patrolling mission "maybe twice or thrice a quarter", says the US state department since it considered the disputed islands as part of the international maritime trade route. Control over these islands could upset the regional balance since the Spratlys and the Paracels are traditionally considered to be within international waters.
Global maritime trade is one of the reasons taken by the US in its actions at the South China Sea (or Western Philippine sea). China has issued several statements regarding the Spratlys islands, one of which is its strong claim that these islands are part of China since the old days.
As these two giants begin power flexing, even preparing for a possible confrontation in the high seas, what has this go to do with us, Filipinos? Many. One, we are a party in this. This is not anymore the Korean or Vietnam wars when Filipino forces were sent as part of an international mission. This issue hits home so to speak, because, among the claimants in the Spratlys, we own those islands being claimed by China and the fact is, China built those controversial structures there. This is closer to home than imagined.
Two, both the US and the Philippines are entering a transitory phase. On November 6, the US will have its 58th presidential elections. Voters will choose their electors who, in turn, will elect the new President and Vice president. In actuality, voters will choose who among the two major parties will lead the US for the next few years.
If the Republicans choose Donald Trump, expect a more combative US in the next few years. In the Philippines, the presidential election takes place May 9, or about six months after the US polls. The Philippine elections and its outcome are quite crucial because whoever ascends Malacanang will actually be responsible for pursuing either a more independent stance against China's bullying or a stance which is more cooperative than what the previous administration has taken.
That explains why this elections is so important for us as a Nation because if we fail to elect a wrong man to the post, be ready for the consequences of it.
If we elect a populist yet weak leader, we may end up in defeat and possibly, lose the economic growth we are now experiencing.