Reds to BBM: Stop playing pawn to US war plans

The Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government should stop serving as pawn to the United States (US) imperialist game of chess against its rival China at the West Philippine Sea, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said.

The revolutionary group said recent hostilities at the Ayungin Shoal are clearly the result of provocations jointly carried out by the US government and the Marcos regime that China responds with “increasingly aggressive and antagonistic reaction.”

“The incidents, accompanied by acerbic exchanges, have further deepened mutual distrust on both sides,” the CPP said in a statement on Saturday.

A Filipino soldier was injured when Chinese naval forces attacked their resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal last week. The Chinese also confiscated guns belonging to the mission.

The CPP however warned that “some militarists and war-mongers” are using the most recent Ayungin Shoal incident to call for invoking the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) for further involvement of the US military in the conflict.

“These jingoists, however, were frustrated that, despite their agitation, the Marcos government was advised by the US not to invoke the MDT—yet. Clearly taking its cue from the US, Malacañang said it was ‘not yet ready to classify this as an armed attack,’ but promised to carry out more ‘supply missions’ to Ayungin,” CPP said.

The truth is, the CPP said, the US imperialists will only enter the fray at its own time, in accordance with its own strategic military plans, and in line with its own self-interest.

“The Filipino people are being duped by the US imperialist in its repeated declaration of its ‘ironclad commitment to the Philippines’ under the MDT. Presently, the US is busy in the Middle East, especially after telling Israel it is ready to support its planned war against Hezbollah in Lebanon,” it said.

Instead, the group urged that the Filipino people must stand firmly and demand a stop to the escalation of conflicts.

“Any intensification of these conflicts will only serve the interests of the US imperialists. There is absolutely no need for the Filipino people to engage China in armed hostilities to settle the maritime disputes between the two countries,” the CPP said.

The CPP urged patriotic and progressive forces to firmly oppose the “jingoists…who are practically asking the US imperialist to fight its war with China in Philippines’ backyard.

“In fact, these incidents underscore the need to abrogate the MDT, under which the country is being used by the US to drag the country into its wars. Pulling the country into the vortex of inter-imperialist wars will bring only grave sufferings to the Filipino people, especially at this time when they are burdened by widespread joblessness, dispossession, low wages and skyrocketing prices, under US-dictated neoliberal policies of the Marcos regime,” it added.

War on the horizon

In its statement, the CPP warned that the war exercises being conducted by the US and its military allies in Philippine territorial waters and adjacent areas are intent on igniting armed hostilities at some point in the future.

It explained that this is part of the US economic competition against China, the geopolitical strategy of the US to contain China’s growth as an economic and military power, and to reassert US hegemony in the Philippines and Asia.

“The US-dependent AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and Filipino soldiers, as well as the US-trained Philippine Coast Guard, are being used as cannon fodder, in the overall US war preparations and provocations against China,” the CPP said.

It cited as example the “multilateral maritime cooperative activity” by US, Canadian, Japanese and Philippine naval vessel in nearby waters the day before Filipino soldiers were dispatched to go on their “supply missions” to Ayungin Shoal last June 17.

It also said the Kasangga war exercises carried out by US-allied Australian forces in the AFP’s 5th ID headquarters in Isabela province from May 15 to June 21 as well as the MASA (Marine Aviation Support Activity) war exercises in Ilocos, Zambales, Batanes and elsewhere on June 3-21 by US soldiers were part of the US preparations for war.

American soldiers also carried out so “clearing of the Basco port until June 7 to further reinforce the presence of American troops in the Batanes islands, it revealed.

“Taken as a whole, all these form part of what China perceives as threats to its security, and how the Philippines is being used as a pawn in the US imperialist game of chess against it. This is also known as the 2011 ‘US pivot to Asia’ which started all the tensions in the region,” the CPP said.

In his strongest statement on the issue yet, Marcos Jr. has warned China not to cross a red line in the South China Sea.

At a security forum in Singapore last month, the Philippine president said that if any Filipino died as a result of China’s willful actions, the Philippines would consider it as close to “an act of war” and will respond accordingly.

The forum was attended by defense chiefs from around the world, including the US’s Lloyd Austin.

Marcos invoked his government’s close ties with the US, saying the region remains a main focus for Washington and that the US was only secure if Asia was too.

Marcos Jr.’s remarks followed his attendance at the US-Japan-Philippine tripartite summit in Washington last April.

Philippine-China dialogue

In the face of Marcos Jr.’s firm alliance with Washington, the CPP said the Filipino people must raise their voices to demand for a Philippine-China dialogue and put an end to US-directed provocations.

“[This is] in order to come up with amicable solutions to the Ayungin Shoal situation, as well as other disputes between the two countries [Philippines and China],” the CPP said.

“New agreements (to replace the old promise not to bring in ‘construction supplies’) can be forged in light of the 2016 decision of the international arbitral tribunal, and without prejudice to availing international diplomacy, legal filings and other options to assert the country’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS),” it added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)