Feeble Japanese-Philippine ‘axis’ doomed [People’s Daily]

July 25, 2013

The “Global Day of Protest” against China by Philippine groups was launched Wednesday, with fewer protesters attending than expected. The protest was not as crowded and sensational as the rallies several days ago in which thousands of protesters shouted their disapproval against the Philippine government and burned effigies of President Benigno Aquino III. It appears that most Filipinos understand that a radical confrontation with China on the South China Sea issue will be doomed to failure.

But Manila has to continue such shows since it has received support from Washington and Tokyo.

The South China Sea disputes are one of the pillars that can facilitate the US “pivot to Asia” strategy. The US serves as spiritual backup for Manila’s toughness against China.

Unlike the multilateral South China Sea disputes, Japan has to face China in the East China Sea on its own, even though the US also props it up. Given China’s continuing rise, Tokyo will feel more pressure and direly needs more allies.

The Philippines is one of the destinations in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Southeast Asian visit that kicks off Thursday, where Abe will present Japan’s donation of coast guard vessels to Manila.

Japan and the Philippines are forming an “axis” to confront China in its neighboring waters. They aim at creating an illusion that China has been isolated and jointly targeted, but the strategic influence of the “axis” is limited.

China has advantages on legal basis over both islands disputes with Manila and Tokyo. Neither Japan and the Philippines has the will to launch a serious contention with China, nor do they have any plans to tackle the territorial disputes at the cost of economic cooperation with China. Therefore, their “axis” won’t have much influence.

Japan’s diplomatic construction in the Southeast Asia lacks support. “Encircling China” is a mere fantasy. The Philippines frequently make troubles to shift attention from its domestic political problems.

Friction with Japan and the Philippines has become normal in China’s diplomacy. Manila and Tokyo expect to build up their momentum through protesting and standing together, which reflects their craven mentality.

China recently set up its China Coast Guard, and coast guard ships have been spotted near the Diaoyu Islands. But China keeps a low profile. This is only a necessary step to strengthen China’s maritime rights.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90777/8340234.html

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