Statement on West Philippine Sea/South China Sea territorial dispute: US butt out!
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By Partido Lakas ng Masa international desk
Philippines must open bilateral talks with China to ease tensions, now!
US butt out, stop intervening in the dispute!
May 28, 2015 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Laboring Masses), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Given the renewed sabre rattling and war cries between the US and China, over the West Philippine Sea and disputed territories, we call on the Philippine government to immediately open bilateral talks with China in order to ease tensions. While we condemn China's aggressive bullying tactics, we firmly believe that the government must take immediate steps towards a negotiated political settlement to this long-running dispute.
However, we also think that the government has to be sincere about pursuing a political settlement, in order to move towards a peaceful resolution of the conflicting claims. This means that the Philippine government disassociate itself from any actions that makes it a proxy for US interests, that is it must be committed to pursuing a truly independent policy in the region.
Furthermore we demand that the US butt out of the conflict. It has no claims in the disputed territories and no basis to intervene. Its role to date has only led to inflaming the situation and destabilising the region. US surveillance planes entering the airspace over disputed territory, despite several warnings from China, was a provocative and dangerous intervention.
The US is clearly pursuing its own interests vis-a-vis its economic competition with China. This is one of the main reasons for the US “pivot Asia” military policy aimed at increasing its military presence in the region. We are also concerned that in doing so, the imperatives of the US military-industrial complex will prevail, driving the region towards war.
On April 4, 1967, in his famous Riverside Church address, Martin Luther King Jr. said the US government was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. In response he called for a true revolution of values. Almost fifty years later, this still remains the case today.
We see the disaster of US intervention in Iraq, which has led to the destruction of an entire nation and the rise of ISIS [Islamic State]. Since 1980 the US has engaged in aggressive military action in 14 countries in the Islamic world alone: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria.
In the Western hemisphere, US military forces invaded Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989), and landed 20,000 military forces in Haiti (1994). This scenario can only be described as the US being on a permanent war footing.
The US has 1.3 million people in the military and another 1 million serve in the military reserves. The US has more than 700 military bases in 63 countries across the world deploying over 255,000 US military personnel there. The US has over 1500 strategic nuclear warheads, over 13,000 military aircraft, dozens of submarines, many of which carry nuclear weapons, and 88 huge destroyer warships.
In Iraq over 216,000 combatants, most of them civilians, have died since the 2003 invasion. No one even counted civilian deaths in Afghanistan for the first five years of the US-NATO war there. US drone attacks have murdered hundreds of children and hundreds of civilian adults in Pakistan and dozens more in Yemen.
US military spending is about the same as the total of military spending by the next eight largest countries combined, that is more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, UK, India and Germany combined.
The number-one war profiteer is Lockheed Martin, according to USA Today, with annual arms sales of $36 billion. The number-two war profiteer is Boeing with annual arms sales of $31 billion. The rest of the top 10 corporations profiting from war include BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Raytheon, EADS, Finmeccanica, L-3 Communications and United Technologies.
For all these reasons, we call on the US to stop intervening in our region and for an ASEAN-led negotiated solution to the conflict. We also demand that the Philippine government stop acting as a proxy for US interests in the region, pursue a truly independent foreign policy and immediately open bilateral talks with China in a genuine effort to reach a political settlement to the territorial conflicts.