No nation wants war over Spratlys group of islands. This is for sure a common ground that all, China and Vietnam included, agree to.

Another common ground is: All nations want to exploit Spratlys for economic benefits. That is why China is creating a firm to invest $1 trillion of its reserves.

Now, I have a proposal that may be acceptable to all countries.

I suggest that the PH government initiate a negotiation for the purpose of making all claimants agree to a meeting.

In the meeting, the PH government can propose that all nations staking claims to Spratlys shall form a joint-venture company for the exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources beneath the sea and the fish resources in the sea itself. The joint-venture company shall be governed by Board of Trustees where representatives of all claimant-countries shall sit as members of the Board. The members shall elect among themselves who shall be the chairman, the president, the treasurer and who shall sit in other positions. The board shall also be the one that will hire managers and employees of the joint-venture. Each member-country must give funds of $20 million (in US currency equivalent to P10 billion) as the working capital of the joint-venture. If there are five claimants, this means that the initial capital of the joint-venture shall be $200 million. There must also be a clause that all claimant-countries must give $20 million to the joint-venture every five years so that at the end of 25 years, the total capital shall be $1 trillion.

The working principle that I propose to be used in this proposal is that all issues that are contentious shall be set aside for future settlements and all matters that are not in issue shall be implemented right away.

With this, the joint-venture company now must determine what the lowest claim is. For example, if Vietnam claims in 10 islands, China claims in 15 islands, PH claims in 40 islands, Malaysia claims in 15 islands, Brunei claims in 10 islands, and Taiwan claims in 15 islands, the MINIMUM AS BASE CLAIM shall be 10 islands. Remember there are about 30,000 islands, islets, reefs in Spratlys and none of these, except for Kalayaan Group of Islands, are inhabited.

After knowing what the lowest claim is, it shall be the base of what each country should get as its share in the profits of the joint-venture company. With this, all countries, including China and Vietnam and Taiwan, should get only profits equivalent to the lowest claim. So that those countries that have claims exceeding the base as the minimum should agree that the balance of the total profits after the minimum amount of profit shares are given shall form part of the reserve of the joint-venture company.

The countries can now agree that those reserves shall be part of the main issue of who should have the rightful claims to Spratlys and all these countries must agree that they will submit the issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for arbitration. The decision should also include a declaration of which countries have rightful domain over what particular islands in the Spratlys and a declaration of how the reserves of the joint-venture company be divided among the countries that are members of the joint-venture.

I think, except for the expected issue of One-China Policy, this proposal is acceptable to all nations involved in the Spratlys.
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