Aquino’s 3rd arbitration action prompted Chinese to act on Ayungin Shoal

It is the unexpected 2016 ruling on the 3rd Aquino Regime’s arbitration proceeding against China that continues to encourage the Chinese to prevent Philippine ships from sending supplies to military personnel in Ayungin Shoal, as they l ‘did last week, when they allegedly even used garden hoses to chase Filipino ships.

US attorneys for Aquino filed a complaint in January 2013 – very stupidly, in hindsight – asking the arbitral tribunal to rule as illegal similar actions by the Chinese coastguard on March 9, 2014 to prevent Philippine ships from resupplying the detachment. Ayungin Shoal seafaring.

The tribunal, in its July 2016 “sentence”, however, dismissed this complaint and ruled that the incident was “a predominantly military situation, involving military forces on one side and a combination of military and paramilitary forces from the other, deployed in the opposition. to each other … “He ruled that such military situations were outside his jurisdiction and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). In short, the court said to Aquino 3: you “You are the only one there. We have no authority in this matter.”

The incident last week was clearly that China was once again benefiting from the sentencing decision. How can the United States intervene in such Chinese maneuvers when they had not been declared to violate international law by a tribunal over which many analysts believed the Americans had enormous influence?

Our outpost in Ayungin Shoal: A rusty 1944 LST ran aground there in 1999.

The Philippine military, mainly through civilian ships, had in fact been able for 15 years – quietly with the implied approval of China – to resupply (and replace) the navy platoon stationed on the tank landing ship of rusty era BRP Sierra Madre. The Estrada administration deliberately immobilized the vessel on May 7, 1999 to serve as a “garrison” for Ayungin Shoal, which is entirely under water.

Future threat

For the Chinese, it is a future threat nonetheless, especially if it can be transformed into the kind of outposts the Vietnamese have developed using modified oil rigs, as it doesn’t is only 35 kilometers from Mischief Reef, which it occupied in 1994 and transformed into one of its largest man-made islands in 2013.

Despite all its relentlessness over Philippine sovereignty over the Spratlys and the Aquino government’s spending of a billion pesos for the prosecution, our government has not been able to build the kind of oil rigs modified to function as outposts in our claimed territories as the Vietnamese did. . A ship turning to rust was all our government could afford.

China since 1999 had occasionally asked the Philippines to remove the unsightly ruins, claiming that Ayungin Shoal, which it calls Ren’ai Jiao (international name: Second Thomas Shoal) is part of its sovereign territory called the archipelago by Nansha.

The Philippines’ response had been ambiguous. In several notes verbales, he practically told China that Beijing cannot make such a request because Ayungin is part of its “continental shelf”, and therefore of the Philippine territory. In meetings between Chinese and Filipino officials, however, foreign officials told their counterparts they did not have the resources to do so “at the moment,” but promised to pull the ship out. Even Aquino’s former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario told the Chinese in 2013 that the Philippines was unable to kidnap it just because they didn’t have the money to pay for it. , to which his counterpart retorted, “We will pay for the removal.”


The Chinese had chosen for more than a decade not to block the resupply and replacement of military garrison personnel from the rusty ship so as not to escalate tensions in the disputed waters. Until 2014, this was one of its means of retaliation against the “law” that the Aquino government carried out against it in the form of arbitration proceedings as well as the bellicose position of the Aquino government against the China.

Aquino, del Rosario and their legal adviser on the matter, Antonio Carpio, were indeed so naive that they believed that an emerging superpower would just file a complaint when the Chinese were convinced that it was the United States that was behind and would use all of his influence to get the tribunal to rule against China.

Ayungin and Mischief Reef face to face.  IMAGE OF THE AUTHOR USING GOOGLE PRO

Ayungin and Mischief Reef face to face. IMAGE OF THE AUTHOR USING GOOGLE PRO

Unless we are prepared to risk a war with China by forcing our warships to force their way to resupply our Ayungin “outpost” (and hope the United States intervenes), or if we do not fail to reach an amicable compromise agreement with China, we will soon lose the bench. The marine platoon there can certainly survive for months fishing for food, but they do not have the equipment to produce fresh water, nor the medical facilities if necessary. If the worst were to happen and they couldn’t get their supplies, our Marines would have no choice but to ask the Chinese to transport them out of the BRP Sierra Madre – to be quickly embarked by Army Marines. popular liberation.

The loss of Ayungin Shoal would be the third setback in the US-backed Aquino regime’s reckless arbitration pursuit against China and its belligerent stance against it.


The first backlash was the loss of Scarborough Shoal, the first territory the Philippines has lost (other than Sabah) since its independence. In this episode, Aquino and del Rosario were duped by the United States – especially then Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell – that the Chinese had agreed to leave the Shoal, along with our ships. Aquino and del Rosario believed the American official. But there hadn’t been such an agreement, yet they ordered our ships to leave, effectively handing over the bench to the Chinese.

The United States tricked them into spurring the Aquino government to press charges, which the Americans said would result in a decision ordering China to return the bench. Instead, the arbitration award simply stated that Scarborough Shoal was the subject of competing land claims, over which neither she nor the Unclos had jurisdiction.

The second flashback, and the most important, not only for us but for the United States, was to urge the Chinese Communist Party and its people to mobilize enormous resources – which I estimate at 50 billion pesos. – to transform the seven reefs he occupied. in the Spratleys into artificial islands, equipped with all the necessary facilities to quickly transform them into military installations. From having the smallest area of ​​Spratleys, China now has the largest area of ​​land there, with the most advanced facilities.

The United States and its allies could do nothing but watch, helplessly, as China build its chain of islands in the Spratleys. How could they intervene when the world viewed the Chinese decision as its legitimate response to the arbitration process that threatened its holdings in the disputed area? While it was called “lawfare” by people like Carpio, it was still a form of warfare.

Del Rosario and Carpio were wrong about the fact that the Philippines could sue China and win, and that there would be bailiffs to enforce the decision. But the international arena in which the superpowers clash is so different from a country’s legal regime. Superpowers when threatened with reprisals.

The third backlash, it now seems, would be the loss of Ayungin Shoal, which the Chinese could turn into another man-made island – the one closest to the Reed Bank (Recto à nous) where it is believed to be there are huge deposits or hydrocarbons.

Because of these three terrible stretches of arbitration proceedings, I have called this move by Aquino a “debacle,” which is the main title of my next book on the South China Sea.

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao

Twitter: @bobitiglao


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