PNS — A PROGRESSIVE party-list lawmaker yesterday warned that Filipinos may suffer the fate of scores of Vietnamese nationals who had been killed by China when it launched a limited shooting war in 1974 and 2005 over the disputed Paracels Islands.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares expressed strong belief that China will not launch a full scale war against the Philippines, but could repeat its atrocities inflicted against the Vietnamese people before, this time on Filipinos
“I do not think China will launch a full scale war against the Philippines. But it is capable of launching a limited shooting war in the Scarborough shoal if only to test our determination to defend our territory,” Colmenares said noting the Paracels incidents. The group of islands has been occupied by China since 1974, but Vietnam claims sovereignty over the area.
“It launched a calculated attack and killed nine Vietnamese fishermen in January 2005 in the Paracels. It also attacked Vietnamese forces and invaded the Paracels in 1974 killing scores of Vietnamese soldiers and wounding more than 800,” Colmenares recalled.
“After a few weeks of international condemnation China believes the attention will die down and it would get away with such an atrocious act. This analysis was seriously discussed in Asiaweek by Prof. James Holmes, an associate professor of strategy at the US Naval War College, who said that Beijing would likely get away with it if China were to launch a limited attack on the Philippines or Vietnam” Colmenares added.
Colmenares pressed President Benigno Aquino to submit immediately the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal issue to the international multilateral bodies.
But Colmenares deplored the scheduled talks between the Philippines and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which would only expand United States intervention in the country.