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Game of Thrones
Philippines Bares Teeth at China

Asia’s Game of Thrones is heating up, as a top general from the Philippine Armed Forces publicly accused Chinese authorities of firing on Filipino fishermen with a high-powered water cannon. The fishermen were boating near the Scarborough Shoal, a triangle-shaped reef that is claimed by both China and the Philippines. The NYT reports:

“The Chinese Coast Guard tried to drive away Filipino fishing vessels to the extent of using water cannon” near Scarborough Shoal on Jan. 27, Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, chief of staff of the Philippine Armed Forces, told foreign reporters at a forum in Manila, according to Agence France-Presse. He did not say if any injuries resulted from the incident. […]

During a regular news briefing on Monday in Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said that she did not know the details of the January incident and that Chinese ships “carry out normal official patrols in that area,” according to Reuters.

Tensions around the shoal have been high since April 2012, when the Philippine Navy attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen who were illegally collecting endangered fish. The arrests were foiled, however, when Chinese maritime surveillance ships intervened on behalf of the fishermen, blocking the Philippine Navy from accessing their vessels. China has since kept a constant military presence around the shoal.

In recent months, both countries’ rhetoric has heated up. Earlier this month, the President Benigno Aquino compared China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea to Hitler’s aggression toward Germany’s neighbors preceding World War II. His remarks sparked livid criticism from Beijing, who called Aquino “ignorant” and “amateurish.” This incident could act further as potent firing power for hardline Filipino politicians, who want the country to take a tougher stance on China. If General Bautista’s claims are true, it signals that mere words are turning into sticks and stones.

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  • PKCasimir

    Since the Philippines are toothless, baring their teeth at the Chinese must have really frightened them.

    • Andrew Allison

      The Mutual Defense Treaty Between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America was signed on August 30, 1951 in Washington, D.C. . . . and dictated that both nations would support each other if either the Philippines or the United States were to be attacked by an external

      • PKCasimir

        If you really think that the Chinese are afraid that President Obama will take any action to enforce that treaty then I offer you a bridge in Brooklyn for a really good price.

      • Corlyss

        How many teeth does a piece of paper have? See, European mutual defense pacts in operation c. 1914 and 1938.

        Obama wouldn’t act if the US were struck again a la 9/11. First he’d blame America, and then he would unleash his attack dog Eric Holder to find the perps and bring them to justice, but he would not expend a single Army issue bullet on a nation without evidence suitable for conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, which he would make sure he wouldn’t find. So forget our defense commitments to other nations.

  • Andrew Allison

    Tick, tick, tick . . .

  • Corlyss

    Wake me when they loose the Moros on China . . .
    Where’s “hosing down” on the scale of provocative acts in the Book of International Causes of War?

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