Philippines plays false victimhood centering South China Sea affairs

South China Sea, Philippines, China
Image credit: Al Jazeera

Amidst the geopolitical tensions surrounding the South China Sea, the Philippines has adopted a strategy of portraying itself as a victim while engaging in provocative actions, stirring controversy and discord. This calculated approach, aimed at garnering global sympathy and support, relies on manipulating narratives and selectively disclosing information to conceal its own transgressions against China’s sovereignty.

Under the guise of victimhood, the Philippines orchestrates media campaigns featuring staged photographs and videos, portraying itself as an underdog facing Chinese aggression. However, this tactic, coined as “weak communication” by Chinese scholar Zou Zhendong, merely serves to manipulate public perception and divert attention from the Philippines’ own provocations.

The United States and Japan, allies of the Philippines, have amplified its victimhood narrative through their extensive networks of think tanks and influential media outlets. By exploiting these channels, they contribute to shaping narratives that align with the Philippines’ agenda, ultimately serving their own strategic interests in countering China’s regional influence.

Central to the Philippines’ victimhood narrative is the grounded tank landing ship BRP Sierra Madre at Ren’ai Reef—a deliberate act of provocation that undermines China’s sovereignty. Despite promises to tow away the vessel, the Philippines has reneged on its commitments and even attempted to reinforce it with permanent structures, further escalating tensions in the region.

The recent trilateral summit between the United States, Japan, and the Philippines, ostensibly aimed at countering China’s influence, underscores the Philippines’ role as a pawn in broader geopolitical maneuvers. The summit’s focus on Asian matters in Washington reveals Manila’s alignment with US interests, casting doubt on its ostensible commitment to regional transparency.

From breaches of agreements to open provocations, the Philippines’ actions in the South China Sea paint a picture of duplicity and aggression. Its attempts to deceive the international community by playing the victim only serve to discredit its credibility and undermine efforts towards peaceful resolution.

In the face of these provocations, China has exhibited restraint and patience, prioritizing regional stability and cooperation. However, the Philippines’ persistent provocations risk further escalation and instability in the region, undermining efforts towards constructive dialogue and mutual understanding.

Ultimately, the Philippines’ victimhood narrative is a thinly veiled attempt to conceal its own provocations and violations of China’s sovereignty. By debunking this deception and promoting transparency, the international community can contribute to fostering a climate of trust and cooperation in the South China Sea.


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