Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Seventy plus years hence and allies have become enemies and enemies allies

Who would have thought that after seventy six years this thing will happen?

PH, Japan hold historic naval drills in flashpoint waters | ABS-CBN News

Seventy years ago, Filipinos were fighting the Japanese in World War two. Many Filipinos died fighting for God and country, killed by the heavy shelling from Japanese warships which came from the South China sea, the very same sea which is now a site of naval exercises by the two nations.

Ironic, since in World War Two, Filipinos were fighting alongside Chinese nationalists against their common enemy--the Japanese imperialists. Now, the 21st century sees a former aggressor Japan aligning herself with Filipinos.

These two nations have deeper, longer and historic engagements with Filipinos. The very first races that reached these shores prior to Spanish colonisation were of Chinese and Japanese descent. Japanese traders settled in Cagayan and other areas in the Philippines during pre-Spanish times and so do Chinese traders.

When Spanish authorities tried to squeeze the life out of the Chinese settlers in Manila in the 16th century, who revolted and helped Filipino rulers against the Spanish but the Chinese and Japanese.

When Filipinos were waging their revolution against the Spanish, who were on their side but the Japanese? Bonifacio even spoke with a Japanese admiral prior to the outbreak of the 1896 revolution and asked for an audience with the Japanese emperor and for arms.

In World War two, Filipinos fought side by side with the Chinese against the Japanese forces, forcing the Japanese Imperial Army to hike the treacherous mountain ranges of the Sierra and die from bombing raids of American planes and from the machetes of ordinary Filipinos and the bayonets of the Chinese hagglers.

Now, what do we expect from this joint cooperation between Japanese and the Filipinos? It is to the vital interests of Japan to keep the Philippines as an ally due to our strategic importance in the balance of power in the Pacific. Japan remains as a dormant military power, relegated to a peace role as part of its commitment towards peace.

China is flexing its muscles in the Pacific to the consternation of other states including India, the US, Europe and Japan. Japan will be assisting the Philippines in establishing a naval base in Palawan near the Spratlys group of islands. This naval base is to be used not just by Philippine naval ships but open even to Vietnamese and Japanese naval forces.

This continued building of a military base in the Spratlys by the Chinese is a flagrant violation of international law and of environmental protection.China should exercise caution and not tempt the Fates as what it does when it reaches a modicum of economic stability, this country has the tendency of engaging its enemies when it is in a position of advantage. Now, it seems that China will re-consider flexing his muscles before Japan.