Saturday, February 11, 2012

Q and A Spratly Islands’ conundrum:” We should play the Philippines Card” – De Venecia

Philippines Former Five- time Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr ,who is seated second from left, spoke in an international forum. De Venecia founded and co-chairs the International Conference of (All) Asian Political Parties , and is the president of the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International .  
. In a recent article of theGlobal Times published by the Communist Party's People's Daily, the tabloid exhorted China to punish economically the Philippines because of its recent military dialogues with the United States to host a more regular and much bigger military exercises on her territory.Former five-time House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr., an imminent connoisseur of geo-politics, was interviewed by Mortz C. Ortigoza, political columnist of Northern Watch, on the threatening Chinese’s belligerence towards the Philippines and the East Asian Countries who have claims on the Spratlys and other island territories in the South China Sea (SCS), the United States growing presence in the SCS, and the debt crises at the European Union in the face of the forthcoming election in France and the volatile political coalition in Germany. Excerpts:

 MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA (MCO): Mainland China’s president Hu Jintao recently said war is imminent between China and the United States, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

 JOSE DE VENECIA (JDV): Well, in the first place I don’t know whether it was true Hu Jintao made that statement that war is imminent against the U.S, Philippine, and Vietnam.

 MCO: I read that in the internet an article entitled “China prepares for war over South China Sea Spratly Islands” ( after Hu reacted, in a speech he delivered at a military industrial complex in China, to U.S President Obama’s announcement in January 5, 2011 on a new military strategy in Asia as Vietnam and the Philippines were acrimonious on China’s incessant and aggressive encroachment in the Spratlys. JDV: I don’t think there will be war in the South China Sea.

 MCO: How strategic is the SCS to the U.S and the claimant nations in South East Asian like the Philippines?

 JDV: Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Brunei and so to address to the U.S and the Europeans to insure an untrammeled navigation of the South China Sea that is their main concern because of the oiltankers of Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan would pass through these Spratlys in going to the Malacca Straits, going through the Andaman Sea, going toward the Indian Ocean, going toward the Arabian Sea. Imagine that our ship through Manila bring this (oil) through Corregidor. We don’t have tankers (to pass) to the front yard and backyard.

 MCO:President Barrack Obama has just decided to reduce the United States troops in Europe by transferring them in South East Asia like the Philippines and Vietnam, Guam, and Australia to buttress the U.S Military presence there. How did you see this latest U.S policy?

JDV: This is now the policy of Obama because there is no more threat of war in Europe. In the Pacific, for example, (U.S deploys troops) in Guam, for example, they want to have some in North Australia. In a sense that is also needed to insure that there is no vacuum in the Pacific theater.

MCO: With two military behemoths saber rattling someday in the SCS which do you, think the best side we should choose?

JDV: I’m the No.1 proponent that we should not play the U.S card or the China Card. We should play our card. Iyanangmagandang headline sadiario (that should be the headlines on national dailies). MCO: Kaya nga sir, tinatanongkoitongmga issues naitosainyo (That’s why sir I asked you these pressing issues).

 JDV: Not to play the US cards and the China card. We should play the Philippines card.

MCO: Is latest U.S military policy in East Asia a ploy to put tension in the South China Seas so that these East Asian countries buy armaments from the U.S Arms Industry to complement the sluggish U.S economy?

JDV: Not really, not really. Right now the U.S is courting Japan again, India, Vietnam, Philippines. This is part of geo-politics in order to offset the emergence of resurgent forces. They are normal in geo-political theory. On the other hand the U.S should not overdo (otherwise) China will also react. The best thing to do here is to prevent reaction. Everything should be balanced. To prevent reaction so that entry will be balanced to do a political balance but reserved the geo-political balance in the Asia Pacific Region. What I have on the balances? The pressure, the balance in the South East Asia, the balance in South Asia which is India, Pakistan, China. The balance in Central Asia is vital now. We have thought of Central Asia into Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan where I came for two weeks ago. There are major geo-political forces, geo-economic forces that now energized in the development to our advantage. No to one’s advantage. It should be an Asian advantage.
 MCO: Economists said the Philippine economy will take-off this year compared to her 3.5 percent Gross DomesticProduct in 2011. The spoiler here however would be the debt crisis in Europe. German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy held a common ground despite differences to stave another blow to the European Union. But with Merkel struggles to hold her coalition, and Sarkozy (just like U.S President Barrack Obama) seeing a possible defeat in this year’s election to presidential front runner and Socialist rival Francoise Hollande who denounced the Merkel-Sarkozy agreement, experts said these could undermine the fragile EU’s economy as it plummet to the doldrums by pulling the world’s economy. How do you read these looming phenomena? JDV: They will honor their commitment lead by France and by Germany. Because if they would not have honor their commitment the Euro will collapse, the European Union currently will collapse. It is just political statements on the eve of election.

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