A dangerous delusion

Updated: 2012-05-10 08:09

(China Daily)

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We have reminded the Philippines, with respect and forbearance, and with solid historical and legal evidence, that their claim on Huangyan Island is groundless.

No words or deeds can change the fact that Huangyan Island is Chinese territory, and has been long before any modern international law was conceived.

We have proposed to them, with patience and tolerance, in spite of all their provocative stunts and ill-advised words over recent weeks, that the dispute should be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations, in a peaceful manner.

And, despite their repeated saber-rattling and threats to our fishermen and our fishery administration officials, we have refrained from dispatching one single warship to the disputed waters.

It all boils down to one simple truth, we do not seek a military showdown.

We are faithful to our commitment to being a responsible member of the international community, and we pursue peaceful co-existence. But no international law allows a country's sovereignty to be infringed upon, and a responsible nation does not try to seize territory that does not belong to it.

We cherish our dream of rewriting the rulebook for international relations and do away with the power politics between countries, big or small. But it seems all our good intentions and best efforts will be to no avail.

So far all our endeavors have been ignored or dismissed by the Philippines, which is gambling that we fear a war in the South China Sea.

No matter how willing we are to discuss the issue, the current Philippine leadership is intent on pressing us into a corner where there is no other option left but the use of arms.

Since ancient times, our nation has deemed war the last resort in handling state-to-state relations. But Manila is living in a fantasy world if it mistakes our forbearance for timidity.

This is a dangerous delusion. We have never been a trigger-happy nation. But nor have we ever been afraid to fight when necessary.

We do want to exhaust all possibilities of a peaceful solution. But, as we informed them the other day, we are ready for any possibilities.

To prevent the tensions surrounding Huangyan Island from igniting further instability in the area, the Philippines should stop being a troublemaker and drop its ridiculous claim. Otherwise they will learn to their cost how serious we are about our land and sea.

It should be obvious to any one that the Philippines will not succeed with its attempts to seize territory that does not belong to it, and if it persists the consequences will be dire.