Peace by All Means
By Erick San Juan
The recently concluded China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) joint working group (JWG) fifth meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) in southwest China's Kunming City, reaffirmed the importance to make the South China Sea a place of peace, cooperation and friendship.
The DOC is meant to diminish the threat of war or a military clash in the South China Sea. It has important significance in creating an environment for cooperation, peace, and stability in the region and in promoting trust, confidence building, and mutual understanding between ASEAN and China. That is why Beijing is very firm on its stand on the bilateral settlements of whatever disputes which concern the islands in the South China Sea because as a matter of policy, to include the U.S. will complicate things in the process. Although the navigation security and navigation freedom have always been upheld in the South China Sea.
The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed on November 4, 2002 during the Eighth ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia by leaders of ASEAN and China. The parties unanimously considered that this event has made an important contribution to the maintenance of peace and security in the region and to the promotion of development and cooperation.
The South China Sea is of great importance to China, to the ASEAN and other countries. About 25 percent of world shipping transport moves through the South China Sea. It is also critical for the military fleets that move from the Pacific region to the Indian Ocean.
Being a part of this important region, we should be cautious at all times and put the welfare of our country first and the rest of the region second. We have been shortchanged and outwitted through the collaboration of some of our leaders. We cannot afford a repeat of our country’s history where our protectors failed us.
Like all the other peace-loving countries, we want peace and development in this area although we have to play another role as an ally to a perceived rival of China – the US. When these two superpowers claim their “core interest” and “national interest” in this region respectively, how about “our interest”?
The last DoC meeting is just among the many efforts that the countries in this part of the world will have to undertake to keep the peace and harmony in this region alive. The impending threat of a regional conflict via the Korean peninsula is still in the offing and it could be the next "Pearl Harbor". The world is breathlessly awaiting a peaceful resolution to put an end to this brewing dispute.
In this globalized world where new powers are playing through soft touch operation and behave like "Maggi bearing gifts", diplomacy should be revised and updated. War freak ops does not apply today where most rich nations and rogue states are now members of the NUKE club. It will be MAD(mutually assured destruction). We should all be vigilant as we wait for that elusive peace to happen and more prayers for a peaceful New Year.
God bless us all!