This was the grim scenario portrayed by Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio at a lecture Friday on China’s burgeoning influence over the South China Sea.
Carpio, who spoke at the invitation of the Ateneo de Davao University on “The South China Sea/West Philippine Sea Dispute,” said the Chinese government is trying to wield control, even over the high seas, and is beefing up its war fleet in most parts of Asia. This posturing makes it a dangerous country in the future unless it is stopped from imposing its 9-dashed line claim against the Philippines and other countries in SouthEast Asia, he said.
“We wanted to bring the issue to a wider community not just within the legal community so we brought Justice Carpio to Davao,” said Atty. Cecilia Jover-Angeles of the Ateneo de Davao Law School. She hoped the lecture would educate the public about the country’s longstanding dispute with China.
China claims sovereignty over all the waters, islands, reefs, rocks, seabed, minerals and living and non-living resources falling within its 9-dashed line claim in the South China Sea. The 9-dashed line area comprises almost 90% of the total area of the South China Sea.
“China’s 9-dashed line claim encroaches on 80% of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and 100% of its extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea,” said Carpio. Either the Philippines keeps them or loses them to China, he added.
But China’s 9-dashed line claim does not only affect the Philippines. It also gobbles up the EEZs of other countries. Malaysia loses 80% of its EEZ, Vietnam loses 50%, Brunei 90%, and Indonesia 30%.
Carpio’s presentation showed images of how China’s build-up activities in the disputed sea point to a long-term plan for a massive military capability build-up. He said China will soon deploy a 10,000-ton coast guard vessel, the world’s largest blue water coastguard vessel. China has more coastguard vessels than Japan, Vietnam, India, Malaysia and the Philippines combined.
“Under its 2015 China Military Strategy, China will shift from offshore water defense to the combined offshore water defense and open sea protection,” Carpio warned.