EDITORIAL: China’s intentions are clear as day

Ask any reputable and respectable political analyst. Or ask any think tank worth its salt. What are China’s intentions vis-à-vis our beloved motherland, the Republic of the Philippines?

No one should be surprised that the general answers will not be good.

How can they be? With every passing encounter between Chinese ships and Philippine vessels within our motherland’s exclusive economic zone, the situation worsens. China gets more and more aggressive. It will not be a question of if but when the next Chinese act will result in the loss of Filipino life. Or lives.

Thus far, the Chinese actions have fallen short of being deemed as acts of war. But this too is also very likely a matter of when, not if.

Again and again, and yet again China will call for a toning down of rhetoric on the part of various Philippine sectors. The Senate, for one, is nearly united in its stand that China is at fault in all cases. This week, some senators even suggested that China’s ambassador to Manila be declared persona non grata.

This, after the China Coast Guard again used water and sound cannons against Philippine ships causing damage to one local boat. And as usual, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had the unmitigated gall to blame the Philippines and to say that their actions were “professional, restrained, justified and legitimate.”

Such BS.

This has been China’s retort each time, or variations of the same theme. The Philippines is at fault, China is not. Never mind that so many civilized countries of the world take the side of the Philippines. Never mind that in all cases, the Philippine Coast Guard had been on humanitarian missions when assaulted.

And let it not be forgotten that China insists that the problem of which nation owns the West Philippine Sea must be settled only between China and the Philippines. The US, they say, has no business intruding in the issue.

China’s bullying tactics against a smaller, weaker nation is indicative of how its senior leadership thinks. They have no qualms about using their superior strength to teach the Philippines a lesson, but when the mightier US so much as implies that it may intercede, China’s leaders show their true colors. They are cowards.

The lesson they want the Philippines to learn? Accept everything that China says and does, and maybe, just maybe, the military and economic power will make easy loans available to their poor neighbor.

This was how it was during the Duterte regime. It is no longer the case today.

The Philippines may remain a relatively weak state for now, but China will be making a huge error in judgement if it believes the Philippines will always have a policy of appeasement, as it did in the departed Duterte era.

To use an old cliché, there are many ways to skin a (Chinese) cat.

And here’s another one: The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Xi Jinping is best advised to attend to his country’s now faltering economy, and get his damn ships out of Philippine waters. And stay out.