A political ally of the Aquino Administration suggested that Filipinos boycott Chinese-made products in a reaction to China’s muscle-flexing in the West Philippine Sea.

Malacañang was correct when it promptly shot down the harebrained idea of Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

The Philippines and China enjoy a mutually beneficial trade, dating back to ancient times.

There’s no reason to undo the status quo just because tension is escalating between China and Vietnam, two of nine claimants to the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

The Philippines should do well to refrain from butting in the boiling controversy.

It should stick to its official policy of resolving the issue through diplomacy and multilateral settlement.

The Philippines maintains a small military force in nine of small islands which it occupies as part of its national sovereignty.

In case of a shooting war, the Marine and Coast Guard detachment is no match to China’s naval power.

In such an event, the Philippines is counting on the United States to come to its rescue.

This week the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines said his country will do exactly just that.

“I wanna assure you that on all subjects, we, the United States, are with the Philippines,” said American Ambassador Harry Thomas.

Next week, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert F. del Rosario will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton in Washington, D.C. at the latter’s invitation.

Clinton presumably will tell del Rosario in person of American backing of the Philippines in its dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea as voiced out in advance by the U.S. envoy in Manila.

It will be recalled that Clinton earlier chastised China for its high-handed and unilateral tactics at an ASEAN meeting in Hanoi last July.

But at the same time, she expressed her wish that the territorial disputes among the Spratlys claimants be resolved diplomatically.

This is seen as a signal that while it avows support for its Philippine partner in a mutual defense treaty, the U.S. will not engage China militarily over a long-standing dispute in the South China Sea.

The U.S. is still entangled in two costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It does not make sense to roil the waters any further.

Besides, Americans are sick and tired of their political leaders’ foreign misadventures, epitomized by a debacle in Vietnam.

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