Beijing (China Daily/ANN) - Ever since the Philippines unilaterally raised tensions over its disputes with China in the South China Sea in April, the country has dutifully played the role of a troublemaker in the region. While coveting territorial waters it is not entitled to, it has played one trick after another seeking confrontation with China.
Its politicians have developed a penchant of talking tough on China, as if wild talk will make the country's daydreaming come true. Jabbing a finger at China time and again, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told the Financial Times in an interview published on Monday that Manila "would welcome" Japan's constitutional changes allowing it to have a more active armed force so it can provide a counterbalance to China.
It is pathetic that to provoke China the foreign secretary of the Philippines has not hesitated to help Japan revive the dying ember of militarism. Del Rosario's remarks only play into the hands of Japanese right-wingers who have been clamouring to break the limits of the country's pacifist constitution.
For the majority of Asian people, those in the Philippines included, memories of Japan's military past are still fresh. For Asian countries victimised by Japanese aggression in World War II, normal ties with Japan are possible only under the condition that the country sticks to a pacifist road. Del Rosario's rhetoric has touched the bottom line of peace and order in Asia.
His remarks have also laid bare Manila's attempt to enlist support for its disputes with China. As a smaller country, it has resorted to opportunism to balance the big powers. However, if it goes too far, it will have to shoulder the consequences.
History shows us small countries tend to get the worse of it if they seek to hijack regional peace and stability as a bargaining chip. If Manila insists on playing more tricks in this regard, sooner or later it will have to pay a dear price and lose its own credibility in the region.
On the South China Sea issue, Manila is deceiving itself and miscalculating the situation if it believes it can count on support from countries like the United States and Japan. And it is apparently underestimating China's resolve to defend its sovereignty and core interests.