MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine diplomat says the risks of an armed conflict have increased in the disputed South China Sea with a militarily stronger China now able to challenge the United States, which used to be the dominant power in the strategic waterway.
Philippine Ambassador to Beijing, Chito Sta. Romana, said Monday the balance of power was shifting with the two powers contending for control of the waters, saying Manila should not get entangled with the dangerous maritime rivalry.
Sta. Romana says: "Whereas before the South China Sea was dominated by the U.S. 7th Fleet, now the Chinese navy is starting to challenge the dominance."
He compares the two to elephants fighting and trampling on the grass and says: "What we don't want is for us to be the grass."