Tue, May 08, 2012
China > China & World > South China Sea dispute

China to Philippines: Tolerance has limits

2012-05-08 05:59:32 GMT2012-05-08 13:59:32(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

By Wang Qi, Sina English

"Keeping a low profile and biding the time", first proposed by Chinese late leader Deng Xiaoping, has always served as one of China's guiding principles for its foreign policies. The strategy makes it possible for a country feeding 1/5 of the world’s population to concentrate more on development, achieving its galloping growth today.

Circumstances change with the passage of time, but China still firmly stick to the principle so as to create a peaceful environment for its sustained development.

Unfortunately, some countries mistake China’s low-key profile and utmost restraint as a soft spot at their disposal to “tame” China, Philippines is one of them.

Last month, a Philippine warship harassed Chinese fishermen fishing in Chinese waters, triggering the ongoing standoff on the Huangyan Island. The incident soon escalated into a diplomatic scuffle because of Philippine's reckless moves, one after another. First, it increased its military presence in the disputed waters. Then it declared to take the issue to International Tribunal, intending to internationalize the disputes.

Manila goes whole hog to seek the U.S. helping hand, even though Uncle Sam has refused to take sides. And the latest stunt Philippine turned out was that it would rename Huangyan as "Panatag Shoal" in an attempt to claim an island to which China has indisputable sovereignty, as it is. 

So far, Beijing has exercised the utmost restraint and has been pursuing diplomatic and peaceful means to defuse the tension. Direct and friendly negotiations remain the preferred and best solution. But, kindness is by no means weakness and tolerance has limits.

Should Philippines go out of its way to provoke, it would reap as it has sown.

After all, resorting to peaceful means does not mean China will put at stake its own sovereignty and territorial integrity. Instead, China will always stand up to any challenge to its national interests, and defend its national dignity at any price. 

Indeed, regional stability and peaceful co-existence are what China has been seeking after, and good-neighborly relations are China’s top priority in dealing with others in the region.

In a sense, no country, big or small, should run counter to the trend of peace and development, constantly creating trouble to others. But, if trouble haunts, China is also adept at shooting it.

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