An Australian newspaper which broke the story on the grounding of the Chinese frigate on the Half moon Shoal near Palawan noted the embarrassing situation that the incident had created for the Chinese government coming at a time when it is being accused of expansionism.
The way things have been going the past few days that the Chinese vessel remains stuck in an outcrop which is a stone’s throw away from a main island of the country, is proving to be an embarrassment not for China but for Noynoy.
The administration of Noynoy was evidently caught with its pants down with the incident as it cannot respond properly to it, with a wimpy offer for assistance to get the vessel unstuck as the only reply coming from the Palace.
Too embarrassing it is, since the administration did not even know that there was a Chinese frigate that had forayed into a shoal within the country’s territorial waters. It has to take an Australian newspaper to bring this out.
The vessel was clearly within Philippine territory based on international border rules although China claims it is part of its territory, hell, it is claiming the whole of the South China Sea as its own but the weak response of the government was in contrast to the haste at which China sent rescue vessels without informing the Philippines about it, consistent with its view that it is sailing within its territory.
The administration had not even made up its mind whether or not it will file a protest against China much more seek an explanation from it even as the Palace saw it as a clear trespass into the territory.
The vessel being stuck in the shoal had removed deniability on the incident and provided clear proof of a Chinese incursion into the country but Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that he wanted to know what happened that resulted in the vessel being stuck in the shoal.
It was also a huge insult to the defense capability of the country that the Australian media got wind of the incident days after the swamping of the vessel while the administration of Noynoy seems completely unaware of what’s happening in its backyard.
If a version of the incident in which the Chinese Navy vessel was supposedly protecting Chinese ships poaching for endangered sea turtles which are both a highly-prized delicacy and aphrodisiac in China is true then the element of criminality is injected into the incident making it more urgent for the Philippine government to issue a protest if not take in the vessel and its crew for investigation.
What is becoming clear is that the Chinese grounding was not the result of a routine patrol in the area since it was outside the usual routes taken by a Chinese navy ship.
Proof that it is not a regular route for the vessel is its crew’s unfamiliarity with the area resulting in the swamping of the vessel, an accident that the Coast Guard had already foreseen in the Scarborough Shoal standoff since the Chinese have been sailing too near the stony outcrops.
The most likely reason for the delayed reaction on the incident from the administration of Noynoy is that it had to consult with the United States masters on what to do next.
Caught with his pants down, Noynoy needed to ask permission from the Americans on when to pull it up back in place.
The Chinese swamping incident at Half moon Shoal only proves that China can keep on ignoring Noynoy and his demands involving frictions that are becoming more frequent in the South China Sea.
Noynoy, in turn, looks pathetic in always running to the Americans each time a territorial trouble brews.