Veronica's Memo

PCA Ruling: Why it is not good for Asean to let China win

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China is adamant that it’s historical rights must be respected, saying in many of its literature that the Islands it occupies within the invisible nine-dash line in the South China Sea (SCS) are historically Chinese.

While many across the world would sympathise with China over its claims for ‘historical’ rights, most of the world today are do not really want to apply such rights especially in cases bygone by time and lost or forgotten by centuries of inaction.

The question to ask China is whether they want to claim the coastal lines of countries where they ‘once in history’ landed with their sailing vessels?

And would that include places where there is the recorded history of their arrival and their establishment as a ‘visiting’ commercial and military force in the dark ages of humanity?

If historical rights were to be respected and enforced, would that not give some countries and the remnants of some monarchies long gone with time, the right to come back and claim their historical rights on territories that have since then thrived into modern cities? Kazi Mahmood

Singapore comes to mind.

It was once a relaxed, almost lazy place where Muslims were ruling and were the only ones living on this Island. Some say it was called Temasek and it had a Raja or King, and that the British came and destroyed that peaceful entity to create what is now Singapore.

If China would want its right based on some point of time where its sailors landed on the Spratlys and other Islands in the SCS as the basis for its current bullying of the Asean nations, it will have to accept that Singapore should be returned to its rightful owners.

It will also mean that the world would have to remove all the Palestinians from their current enclaves and place them somewhere in the Middle East in order to satisfy Israel’s historical claims.

Then we will have the situation in the United States of America. The world will have to remove all the Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and whoever else intruded into the lives of the so-called Red-Indians. This will do justice to a race massacred by humans not so long ago!

And does that not mean Australia would have to be returned to the aborigines, and the world would have to be cut in such a way that whites should be in Europe, Blacks in Africa, Yellows in China, brownies in their original states, and Arabs only in the Middle East?

As rogue as North Korea?

Henceforth, China has to be made to understand that it cannot defy the current international justice order. True, China has reasons to doubt the international court of justice. For sure it is not going to recognise such a court that could also ‘trample’ on its leadership in order to give justice to the people of the country!

But if all countries with nuclear powers were to defy the international order, would they not be seen as rogue as North Korea?

Personally speaking, if China wins with its argument that its historical rights are sacred and must be respected and it would force the world into such respect, then I should also be able to go back in time and claim the land where I come from.

The Mongols would kick me out. The Iraqis would surely IED my claims, and India would also say what is by-gone, is by-gone.

I would never win my case. Then why should China win?

But China will win, in the end, because of the lack of acumen among some of the Asean states who are giving in to China on the salient historical rights, not thinking of their own historical rights but think of the big bucks the Chinese communist party is showering them with.

I am not anti-China, As a matter of fact, I believe all countries have rights in the South China Sea. But I also do not believe China can just come over and take what is not it’s own disrupting the livelihood of the people in the coastal regions it is infringing.

And I believe only a united Asean – one where Cambodia for example – would not go against its peers in the grouping and would sign a document with them to get China to understand that a United Asean movement is not going to let unproven historical rights take precedence.

Letting China win will allow Beijing to control the seas where trillions in trade are ferried to their destinations. It may trigger the end of the Asean’s seafarers routes, and it may also trigger the beginning of the end of the golden financial era in Southeast Asia.

No, we should not go back in time!

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