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In his Nov. 30 article, “Realpolitik drama unfolds in the South China Sea,” Mark Valencia fails to include in his analysis the broader context of the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea realpolitik.

At the heart of the territorial dispute is China’s growing need for energy resources. The atolls and islets alone are worthless, but the fuel deposits underneath are invaluable. With the vast majority of the world’s oil reserves under American and European dominion, energy concerns are enveloping China.

With Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Nigeria and other well-known oil reserves in U.S. or European hands, the Chinese have every reason to worry about a chokehold on their energy supply. Soon the U.S. will find an excuse to get into Iran. If starved for oil, China will react at some point. Hence, the territorial dispute.

Learning from history, the U.S. and European powers must not seek to blockade or contain China too much as they did Japan, as that resulted in the Pearl Harbor attack and Japanese occupation of East Asian countries in the last century.

Learning from history, the U.S. and European powers must learn to accommodate the resurgence of a superpower in their midst, albeit a different race from them. The Western powers have had a long run of world domination and are understandably reluctant to give up this undeserved privilege.

Meanwhile, the Philippines must learn to play it smart in order to avoid getting entangled in the scheming of the U.S. and Western powers. It is sad to see Philippine media, the government and the people playing into the hands of America. In the end, the Americans will leave Filipinos to fend for themselves when the stakes or the price becomes too much to bear.

We in the Philippines will still have to do business with China after the spats are spewed and all the rhetoric delivered.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

rodolfo manalaysay

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