By HAI SHANG SHILI
South China Seas Correspondent
MANILA (China Daily Show) – The most excruciating military stand-off since David and Goliath may finally be resolved, thanks to a tatty map found in an old toy chest in some admiral’s attic.
Following a tense stand-off between Chinese and Philippine naval forces off Scarborough Shoal this month, state media reported the stunning revelation on all 764 news channels.
“Got the bugger!” declared Admiral Pu Anyu of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, as nationwide broadcasts beamed the image of a moth-eaten map – drawn during a patriotic history class by Pu, aged four – live into the country’s unimpressed living rooms.
“I knew it was here somewhere,” the Admiral commented.
“I’m just going to have a rummage and see what else is up there,” Pu continued. “I really hope mother didn’t throw away all my Red Guard trading cards. They’re probably worth something by now… especially if they’re still in the original packaging.”
The CCTV broadcast swiftly cut to the studio, cutting off the admiral’s reminiscences, where a panel agreed the find was “Historic” – with two experts firmly agreeing and one violently agreeing.
The two countries have been at loggerheads over the rocks since last month, when Chinese vessels intervened to stop the arrest of fishermen working in the 55km disputed area, located 132 miles from the Philippines and thrice that distance from Hainan.
The area is rich in mineral deposits and marine life, with the surrounding waters said to be bristling with horned sharks, bramble whales, dogfish, ratfish and six-tailed squid.
This week, China dispatched a fleet of eight lightly armed patrol boats to ensure that a Filipino fishing trawler, currently anchored near the shoal, doesn’t pull any funny business.
The US has also been unwillingly reeled into the dispute.
Pentagon officials were yesterday forced to deny any involvement in the escalating tensions, after a group of Americans, sporting buzzcuts and floral chemises, were spotted frolicking near a Filipino beach resort.
The possible presence of any off-duty US Marines has nevertheless discouraged China from sending further warships to ramp up aggression.
Adolescent youths and amateur history buffs on the mainland immediately took to their keyboards at news of the recent cartographic discovery.
Most netizens agreed that the map – in addition to a text message sent by a former Filipino diplomat to his Sichuanese ex-lover, and an offhand remark overheard at a Norwegian embassy party last month – confirmed China’s irrefutable claim on the region.
The scrawled crayon illustration by Admiral Pu clearly shows a map of China and its surrounding nations, with a line stretching across the South China Seas to a shoal of submerged boulders, near the Philippine Islands, marked ‘Hangyoo Iland’ [sic].
“The war’s over. Everyone go home!” trumpeted the front page of Thursday’s Beijing Daily, with a subheadline qualifying: “Except any Filipino maids – we still need you.”
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