A Chinese ship was attacked in the Spratly islands last week; 4 fishermen were killed- the three survivors who returned to Hainan, spoke of a Philippine vessel and a “Pirate attack” while reports say they were in the southern reaches of the islands.
The area is a major highway of world trade and where 70 per cent of Japan and china’s oil passes though china has set up dozens of small forts in the reefs and islets
It also is major smuggling and drug trans-shipment point in Asia as well as a area where pirate attacks have been on an upsurge. Reports from monitors point to some 2,000 pirate and hijacking attacks in the stretch of seas from Mindanao to Malaysia’s Malacca straights.
The general view of people there is this is Pirate attack and may have al qaeda or extremists ties, since 2005 scores of pirate attacks have raised concerns over safety in the region.
After the 2005 firebombing of a Manila ferry - and a half dozen bombing attacks on inter-island ships - perhaps a closer look at a “flashpoint” sparked by terrorism is needed.
Could a third or fourth player be trying to create something in a regional area that could be influenced by ‘heightened tension’, The belligerency has come down a in terms of the hair trigger days of the 1980’s-1990’s out there. A editorial puts it in a US perspective; should the situation become more tense Washington as a treaty ally of four of seven claimants could be drawn into any conflict because of security obligations.
” Washington cannot afford to have those sea lanes blocked or closed. The US needs an ally to keep an eye on Chinese activities in the Spratlys. Its best bet is the Philippines, which maintains a foothold on the contested islands through a military presence on Kalayaan Island.” The Manila Times reports. “
No one can afford at this time of high energy costs another threat to the flow of energy in the region - if two sources of threat exist in the SE Asia shipping area from the Malacca’s to the Palawan passage - then indeed there is greater need for regional coordination. Joint patrols in the Malacca’s perhaps should spread and the ideal of regional security force at sea for ASEAN perhaps in partnership with major players China, Japan, the US, and the regional security forum needs a greater look into.
All reports from China point to pirates, not naval forces, they spoke of some armed men some in uniform most in camouflage, the Philippine Navy nor marines do not wear - those at sea- fatigues maybe but not Cammie’s while at sea.
The rerst according to media reports from southern china were in civilain attire. The most likely culprit lies in criminal gangs, smugglers, or, groups affilated with the Insurgency in the Southern Philippines.
I still say the last group is the most likely suspect- as criminal bands would be less likely to leave anyone alive to tell of the insident. So the entire thing seems to be a message or announcement of the “pirates” presence. Something is here that is strange- and growing- with rumblings from China of other attacks reported in the area.May 8th, 2006 Posted by mikeinmanila | Uncategorized, news, News and politics, pirates, china, asia, terrorism, Views, war, philippines, immigration, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., al qaeda, Palawan, war on teror, abu sayyaf, fil-am, filipino-american, Jemaah Islamiah