The territorial dispute in the South China Sea between Vietnam, the Philippines, and China is far from over.
There were hopes the issue would be brought closer to resolution during the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cambodia, but that get-together seems to have had exactly the opposite effect.
Brian Spegele at the WSJ’s China Real Time Reports that Chinese Major General Luo Yuan left the summit, got back to China and penned a warning to the island nation that he published in the Global Times newspaper.
In it, he warns the Philippines that it’s facing its “last chance” to reach an agreement on the resource laden South China Sea and the Spratly Islands.
In one swift move Luo brought renewed attention on what Spegele calls the “region’s hottest potential military flashpoint.”Always refreshingly outspoken, Luo didn’t stop there and continued by saying “The biggest miscalculation of the Philippines is that it has misestimated the strength and willpower of China to defend its territorial integrity.”
Maybe Luo was still smarting an unknown slight at the Cambodia conference because he he also accuses the Philippines of high-jacking the Asian Nations summit, and declares Manilla’s “continuing provocations” destined to fail.
Spegele points out the sharp words from such a senior military commander come at a difficult time, when China is focused on tensions within the Korean peninsula, and burdened by problems facing its only Middle Eastern ally Iran.
The Contested Waters: