The lessons of World War ll are so valuable to be ignored or forgotten. There were two major reasons why Japan invaded the Philippines on December 8, 1941. First, because it was an American colony, and second, to prevent the use of the Philippines as an advance base of operations by American forces in the region.
From Bloomberg, March 10, 2023: “China and the US have locked themselves into a new cycle of recriminations, provoking fresh worries that the world’s two biggest economies are heading down a path that could one day lead to the once unthinkable: the possibility of open conflict.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who served as ambassador to the US before he was promoted, warned at the annual gathering of China’s National People’s Congress last week: “If the US does not hit the brakes, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there will surely be conflict and confrontation.”
US officials, for their part, said that China still hasn’t changed any of the behavior that’s drawn criticism, from assertiveness toward its neighbors to its efforts to steal the intellectual property of US companies and harass dissidents overseas. They said “the tone taken by Chinese diplomats and state media also made it more difficult to improve ties.”
The two countries remain in dispute over territorial issues in the South China Sea. China claims sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea, while the United States sees it as international waters and asserts the right for its warships and aircraft to conduct operations in the area.
On the part of the Philippines, China’s bullying in the West Philippine Sea —in our exclusive economic zone—has driven the Marcos administration to establish closer ties with the US. For example, the government is giving the US temporary access to four more of the country’s military bases.
The US currently has access to five Philippine bases, courtesy of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement:Cesar Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay inNueva Ecija,Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan,Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu province, and Lumbia Air Field in Cagayan de Oro.
According to news reports, the US asked for additional sites in Cagayan, Palawan, Isabela and Zambales.
Ian Easton, author of “The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia,” said he is concerned that a major crisis is coming. “It is possible to envision this ending in an all-out invasion attempt and superpower war. The next five to 10 years are going to be dangerous ones. This flash point is fundamentally unstable,” he said.
President Joe Biden has said US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Although the White House quickly walked back the president’s remarks, saying Washington has maintained a “One China” policy since 1979, America’s Taiwan Relations Act requires the US to provide the self-ruled island with the means to defend itself.
USA Today: “US plans to expand its military presence in Philippines to counter threats against Taiwan.” The Washington Post: “The US military is poised to secure expanded access to key bases in the Philippines that could give US forces a strategic position from which to mount operations in the event of a conflict in Taiwan.” Al Jazeera: “A top Republican in the US Congress says the odds of conflict with China over Taiwan “are very high” after a US general caused consternation with a memo suggesting war would happen in two years’ time.”
The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Sunday warned the Philippines against opening up additional sites under its Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, saying this will drag the country into “the Taiwan question.”
Anybody can figure out that the sites used by American forces in the country will be targeted for destruction in the event of a US-China war.
Sen. Imee Marcos, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, also sees the imminent threat to Philippine security. “Clearly, the expanded EDCA is addressing the escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait, not the Philippine interests in the West Philippine Sea,” she said.
It would do well for national leaders to keep a potentially terrible trouble from coming to the Philippines. As the saying goes, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” Courting disaster is sheer madness. We should avoid the risk of war at all costs.