中比対立激化 尖閣諸島でも警戒が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 25, 2012)
China-Philippine confrontation a warning for Senkakus
中比対立激化 尖閣諸島でも警戒が必要だ(5月24日付・読売社説)

A confrontation between China–which has been building up its military in recent years–and the Philippines is intensifying over marine interests in the South China Sea. We urge both countries to engage in dialogue to prevent the dispute from escalating into military conflict.

The confrontation started April 10 when a Philippine Navy warship inspected Chinese fishing vessels at Scarborough Shoal, which is called Huangyan Island in China. Beijing immediately responded by sending patrol ships to the area, and a standoff between Chinese and Philippine vessels in the waters has continued for more than one month.

Beijing and Manila both claim sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal.

The Philippines has proposed that the territorial dispute be resolved through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. It also has strengthened military ties with the United States–which recently unveiled a new defense strategy that places greater emphasis on Asia–through such measures as conducting joint military exercises. This appears to be an attempt to counter the huge military pressure from China.


Beijing’s overwhelming power

Beijing issued a strong warning against the recent moves by Manila: “The Chinese side has made all preparations to respond to any escalation of the situation by the Philippine side.”

China’s naval might is far superior to that of the Philippines and other nations near China. China even has a plan to deploy its first aircraft carrier soon. We urge China to refrain from taking a hard-line stance on the standoff.

Overreactions to the dispute have already emerged in China–travel agencies have suspended tours to the Philippines, and the government has stepped up quarantine inspections on bananas grown in the Philippines. The government has justified these responses by citing an increase of anti-China protests in the Philippines and the detection of pests in bananas, but it is likely that Beijing is attempting to pressure Manila over the shoal dispute.

China’s reaction has shades of its response to the collisions between a Chinese fishing boat and Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea in autumn 2010. After this incident, Beijing piled pressure on Tokyo by restricting exports of rare earth minerals to Japan, for instance.


Don’t turn blind eye to dispute

Japan cannot afford to ignore the Scarborough Shoal dispute, as the nation faces similar friction with China, which claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands.

Chinese fisheries surveillance vessels routinely sail around the Senkaku Islands to make their presence felt. China’s strategy of using fishing boats and fisheries patrol vessels to give the irreversible impression that the area belongs to China is identical to what is happening in the South China Sea. Japan must not let the situation in the East China Sea deteriorate to what is going on in the South China Sea.

Peace and stability in the South China Sea is not only crucial for nations in Southeast Asia. It also is in Japan’s national interest to ensure that its sea lanes remain safe.

The Japanese government plans to use official development assistance to provide the Philippines with patrol vessels for its coast guard. This will help the Philippines strengthen its maritime security, and also be important in making China pause to think.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 24, 2012)
(2012年5月24日01時31分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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