Ex-Chinese general wants Beijing to launch attack on Ayungin
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A retired Chinese general has called on Beijing to order an attack on Ayungin Shoal and arrest the Filipino Marines stationed aboard the grounded Philippine Navy vessel BRP Sierra Madre.

Retired People’s Liberation Army Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan, in a commentary carried by local networking site Angmaaya.net, declared that it is about time China fight back the Philippine invasion of its territory in the South China Sea.

“We have maintained a great deal of restraint and patience. The Philippines invaded our eight reefs, and is arresting our fishermen. When are we going to fight back?” said Yuan.

He was referring to the seven islands and reefs where Filipino troops are currently deployed to safeguard and protect the Philippine islands in the hotly contested region, and the arrest last week of 11 Chinese fishermen poaching and illegally fishing in the waters off Palawan, specifically within the vicinity of Hasa-Hasa (Half-Moon) Shoal.

The shoal, located just 60 nautical miles from mainland Palawan, is also being claimed by China as part of its maritime domain under its questionable nine-dash line that overlaps territorial waters not only of the Philippines, but also those of Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.

“It is incorrect to assume that China will completely rule out military action in any event during this period of strategic opportunity. To safeguard our sovereign and territory rights, we will never hesitate to face up to any military challenge,” Yuan said.

In retaliation to the arrest of 11 Chinese fishermen off Hasa-Hasa Shoal, Yuan said that China should respond by also arresting Filipino Marines at Ayungin, saying it has a variety of means to clear the shoal.

“China should respond tooth for tooth and an eye for an eye,” the retired Chinese general said.

Yuan’s commentary earned the ire of Filipino netizens, who described him as “retarded” instead of retired Chinese general.

A middle-grade officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) described Yuan’s opinion piece as a mere ploy in a bid to force the Philippines to abandon its means of settling the territorial dispute peacefully instead of engaging Beijing in a military confrontation.

“It’s a gambit and they’re just waiting for us to commit mistakes to justify before the international community their creeping invasion of our own territorial waters,” the officer said, adding the AFP is always ready to perform its mandated task to secure the people and the state.

Manny Crisostomo, of Colegio de San Agustin in Makati, in an online post said that Ayungin Shoal was never a part of China.

“They merely try to create an illusion that it’s theirs. The growing strike of factory workers in China for increase in pay is the real issue. China is trying to cover it up through possible war with its neighboring countries to promote unity even amongst its unsatisfied workers which are the backbone of its economy,” Crisostomo said.

Others who read Yuan’s commentary said that the prevailing security development in the West Philippine Sea calls for a united stand among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries in order to deter China’s aggression in the region.

Calls were also aired for militant groups in the country to launch a sustained protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Manila as they used to do  in front of the United States embassy.

“Why not go to the Chinese embassy and ask them why they’re doing this to us,” store manager Roy Dimaya said in his post.


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