PH must brace for China's possible 'forcible retake' of Taiwan: security analyst

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2022 12:25 PM | Updated as of Aug 04 2022 01:50 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines must be prepared for China's possible "forcible retake of Taiwan," a security analyst said Thursday.

China had escalated its military drills around the Taiwan Strait following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The Asian giant's forcible retaking of Taiwan is among the "worst" case scenarios, according to Chester Cabalza.

"We have to be prepared for this. Of course, our policy is not to interfere but observe because we have also national security interest in Taiwan because we have overseas Filipino workers there. In case there will be a retake of Taiwan by China using force, automatically Manila will become the buffer zone of China," Cabalza told ANC's Headstart.

"In case China intends to invade the Philippines, it will be like the Ukraine case because we are very close to China already."

The Philippines should strengthen its military and not "depend on these two superpowers because they have their own vested interest," Cabalza added.

"To have an independent foreign policy is to have stronger armed forces... Our interest is to proetct our own people and the sovereignty of our country and the territorial integrity of the Philippines. We have to invest on military modernization," he said.

The conflict between the US and China is "inevitable," Cabalza said.

"Since they are nominating who would lead the world, then definitely these major powers will have to resort to power contestation. And we’ll never know whether US will maintain its position as a superpower or another superpower will have to replace the US," he said.

"The Philippines and Taiwan will become a strategic bullseye for these superpowers basically."

The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives on Thursday appealed to all parties to deescalate tensions over Taiwan.

“These unsettling developments certainly do not bode well for the Philippines, which is a few miles south of Taiwan, and for Filipinos working in Taiwain which are estimated at 160,000," Kabataan Party List Rep. Raoul Manuel said as he read the bloc's statement.

"Moreover, these provocations disrupt the peace and security in the Asia Pacific region, and could further lead to more military buildup and conduct of more military exercises by various parties in the region. Pursuing peaceful and diplomatic means to resolve standing issues should be the way forward.“

Makabayan asked the Marcos administration to come up with a contingency plan for Filipinos in Taiwan should the current situation escalate into a standoff. 

“Likewise, we warn the US against using Philippine territories as launchpad and transit zones for further provocative actions," the group said.

--With report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News