Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Is it Time to Revive SEATO?

it seems that Beijing is visibly irked with the perceived "interference" of ASEAN in the on-going West Philippine Sea disputes... a Bejing Foreign Ministry spokesman was recently quoted as saying: "this South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and ASEAN, but between China and some ASEAN countries... hyping the South China Sea issue is against the common aspirations of the people and the main trends of the time to seek development and cooperation, and is an attempt to take China-ASEAN relations hostage."

surprisingly, i tend to agree with Beijing... because only a handful of ASEAN countries are directly embroiled in territorial disputes with Beijing.... the rest of ASEAN will have minimal motivation to rub the wrong way the 3rd largest economy in the world (EU is first, the US is second)...

perhaps it is time to create a new regional organization that is custom-tailored to address head-on the escalating military belligerence of Beijing in the West Philippine Sea... an organization built along the same lines as NATO... this is not really a new concept because there used to be a NATO clone in SE Asia... its name was SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization)... but these are now different times... not all of SE Asia is poised for a military showdown with Beijing... and non-SEA countries like Japan, Taiwan and South Korea will logically have to be invited into this organization to ensure that it will have a respectable military muscle even if Uncle Sam is not in the neighborhood... so recycling SEATO as the name of the organization might no longer be a viable option... it's time to come up with a new name... Pacific Treaty Organization or PATO sounds like a more credible name... besides, PATO is the local term for "duck" in most Philippine dialects... so if war breaks out between Beijing  and PATO... Filipino pundits can easily call it the Peking-Duck War...

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