‘Dialogue, not protests will solve problem with China’ says expert

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

July 25, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – It wasn’t the first time members of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance protested in front of Chinese embassies and consulates around the world, as the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China continues. But there were many firsts in their attempt to grab international attention to the issue — like chaining elderly Filipino World War II veterans by the entrance of the Chinese consulate, at the risk of being arrested.

“For the good of the majority, I am fine with being arrested. We need to fight for our country,” said Gregorio Ferrer, a Filipino veteran.

At their protest on Wednesday at the Chinese consulate, many sang nationalistic songs like “Bayan Ko” and prayed the rosary, while carrying the statue of the Virgin Mary – scenes reminiscent of the 1986 People Power revolution.

“We will storm the heavens with prayers. The Blessed Mother is here guiding us,” said Charito Benipayo, coordinator for the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance.

They also brought in reinforcement from the Vietnamese community, some of whom desecrated the Chinese flag.

“For China to claim that it has indisputable sovereignty there is ridiculous. There is no room to even argue about it,” said Rodel Rodis, president of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance.

Political science expert Jay Gonzalez, a professor at the University of San Francisco said being able to express themselves is always good for the community. But he doubts this will convince Beijing to relinquish its claim to the disputed area in the South China Sea.

“Whether it will change the minds of the real decision-makers in Beijing is another story. They’ve already made up their minds to defend those territories,” said Gonzalez.

Acting on a complaint from the Philippine government, a United Nations tribunal has begun in the Netherlands. China has already blasted the Philippines for its legal recourse to settle the conflict and accused our government of discrediting China before the international community.

Gonzales said he is not opposed to China’s proposal to have bilateral talks with the Philippines instead.

“What’s good for both countries is to come out with a win-win situation, where both parties do not lose face. Both parties come out of the meeting actually gaining face. That can only be achieved in the Asian way of having a closed-door meeting where the two parties can meet,” pointed out Gonzalez.

He added that the only way to move forward is for all claimant countries to share the wealth that the South China Sea has to offer, for in the end, he believes protests will not solve the conflict, but a dialogue will.

For more information, you may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • kikayPang0
    26 July 2013 at 4:49 am - Reply

    I know the Philippines wants to be part of America but they’ll soon find out the US aren’t really loyal to them.

  • jorge buesa
    26 July 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    China, is a county you can’t believe in them. They want everythink that belong to philippines. America is loyal to philipinnes, if anything happens to philippines from other countrys, america will jump in and help philippines.

  • Delia
    28 July 2013 at 11:21 am - Reply

    I have a big doubt if China will ever be encourage by talk alone. Since they took control of the disputed Shoal off the northwestern Philippines last year. China’s assertiveness to lay claim to most of the South China Sea after decades of relative calm has alarmed Philippines , which has turned to the United Nations to seek international arbitration. Bijing has indicated it wont cooperate.

    Philippines need big help and large muscles from its neighboring Asian country such as Japan , Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore. If They are United against China , then Philippines has a chance to the disputed territorial area . With the help of United States it can be possible .

    Protest and rallies has no impact with Chinese . They know they have the largest Military components , so they are’nt a bit concern .