South China Sea tensions continue as Japan now pledges support to the Philippines in light of Beijing’s moves. Consequently, the Philippines has also asked China to respect sea dispute arbitration. Could things escalate into World War 3 with Japan now highly involved?
Manila called out China to respect The Hague’s ruling after Beijing accused it of “political provocation.” Beijing has been claiming regions of the South China Sea which many experts believe to have rich deposits of gas and oil. Among other claimants include Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. Despite the ruling from The Hague, China did not acknowledge the decision saying that the dispute should be addressed through bilateral talks.
“The Philippines, as well as the international community, is asking China to respect the forthcoming ruling of the tribunal and together advance an international rules based regime,” Reuters quoted Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario in a statement. “If China does not heed our collective call, does it mean that China considers itself above the law?,” the secretary added.
The official also said that the ruling should come before May. The Philippines and China tried talking about the maritime problem but both parties have not been able to resolve it.
Nonetheless, the Philippines is not alone in its fight as Japan just pledged support to the country in light of the rising tensions. According to The Diplomat, Japan and the Philippines signed a defense agreement to strengthen cooperation of the two countries. This also included establishing a new framework for the provision of military technology and hardware.
“This agreement would really substantiate the Philippines and Japan being strategic partners,” said Philippine Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin. “Let me stress that what underpins this agreement is not only our desire to enhance our respective defense capabilities but also to contribute to regional peace and stability.”