CHINA and the NINE-DASH LINE
All you need is a look at the map to see the imperiousness and brazenness by which the red line was drawn across the blue space to mark the claimed territory. Pushing out as far as possible away from its own shores, it proceeds to graze right through its own neighbors’. Imagine this happening in your own locale, one of the neighbors, Mr. Big Shot, suddenly howling out to all that the entire lake where everyone in the community fishes and takes a swim, is all his, then proceeds building a fence cutting across everyone else’s front yard. Of course, you and the other neighbors would bristle and protest, because you know that you own part of the lake too. But then as he is the most powerful man in the block, you oppose him only at your own peril.
Anyway one sees it, it is not a pretty sight. It is a scandalously inconsiderate and arrogant. It is nothing but a brazen display of Might, where Might makes Right because anyone who would dare pose any challenge would be crushed helplessly. That is not an act of a good neighbor.
Now, that is just me with my layman’s rather simplistic view of the world. In the world of global relations and diplomacy, there are possibly other elements that my analogy could not capture. Like China’s competition with the world’s superpowers for world domination, for instance. Still and all, the principles and elements that build a good neighborhood are all and the same at every level. In an increasingly interconnected world, we are a community of nations, much a like a community of people who must learn to live with each other.
Is this the best way for China to guard its own dominion in this part of the world and advance its interest? Be rough and intimidating on its neighbors? Instead of employing persuasive powers, the terror of brute force? This is not the way to win allies nor sway enemies.
Now that the ruling on its nine-dash line was dashed by the International Tribunal, China decides to dig in and threatens the Philippines and the rest of the world to lay it aside or else. After ignoring the jurisdiction of the Tribunal where it could have presented its side with its own evidence, it now uses the international media to broadcast its side of the story while threatening the rest of the world of possible devastating consequences.
The world should engage the citizens of China. Do they agree to the actions of their government?
China should reconsider its own posture and image. As a mighty giant, it should not be seen as a bully or an intemperate ogre ready to go on a rampage if offended. It should assume a more high-minded stance as a world superpower. The Philippines indeed could be leaning more on its side being a next-door neighbor which could provide plenty of benefits, but is being pushed away instead into the embrace of another.