Typhoons and disputes
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The United States aircraft carrier USS George Washington and several support vessels are anchored off Samar island, providing the Philippine government with much needed equipment and logistical support for the humongous relief effort of the areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda. At the same time, China’s Peace Ark, the first 10,000-ton-class hospital ship in the world, is also in the area, extending medical assistance to typhoon victims.
It is comforting to see two world superpowers working together, albeit separately, towards a common humanitarian goal in a country that has been a recent source of friction due to differing stances in how a simple territorial dispute should be settled. Instead of showing off their armaments like little boys, and marking their territory like dogs, world superpowers should focus the vast resources of their military on helping other countries that are desperately in need. The assistance rendered by the US carrier group, and the Chinese state of the art hospital ship, shows the world that the human race can achieve much more if we could only find a way to put aside our petty differences and work together.
However, just days after China’s Peace Ark arrived and started helping in the international relief effort, China decided to pop the goodwill bubble by sending its sole aircraft carrier on a training mission into the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The aircraft carrier, dubbed Liaoning, was accompanied by two destroyers and two frigates when it left port for training exercises in the disputed area for the first time.
Just when we thought that it was possible for the Philippines, the United States, and China to temporarily set aside the territorial dispute and just focus on helping the millions of victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, we get a dose of reality. The outpouring of help from the international community may have pressured the region’s bully to send the Peace Ark, but it doesn’t mean that we can stop worrying about its increasingly aggressive behavior in the disputed areas. Yolanda may have stopped time for most Filipinos, but for the Chinese military, it is business as usual.*