Disappointed with Alliance with US, Philippine Will Try Russia, China


Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, as Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, watches during the 19th Asean-China summit, in Vientiane, Laos, on September 7. Photo: AP

Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, as Laos’ Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, watches during the 19th Asean-China summit, in Vientiane, Laos, on September 7. Photo: AP

Believing in Philippines’ alliance with the US, the only superpower in the world, former Philippine President Aquino started to ban fishing by Chinese fishermen at disputed Scarborough shoal and thus started Philippines’ Scarborough standoff with China.

However, US navy took no actions to help US ally the Philippines in the standoff. Instead, the US told the Philippines to retreat and promised to make China retreat too. The Philippines has retreated, but China would not. China took full control of the shoal. In retaliation, it bans fishing by Philippine fishermen there.

The US tells the Philippines to file arbitration at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to restore its fishing and other rights and supported the arbitration all along. The Philippines has indeed won the arbitration, but the US fails to help it enforce the arbitration award. As a result, Philippine fishermen continue to have no access to their traditional fishing ground that they rely for their survival.

They must be allowed to fish there as they had been fishing there for generations. Since China wants others to respect its historical rights and interests, it shall also respect others’ historical rights and interests, to be more specific, Philippine fishermen’s historical fishing rights in the disputed area.

SCMP says in its report “South China Sea fishing rights at top of Philippine president’s agenda in Beijing” today, “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to discuss crisis management and fishing rights in the disputed South China Sea when he visits Beijing next month.”

The standoff has caused Chinese coast guard ships to patrol the fishing ground and deny Philippine fishermen access to the area.

What is much more serious is the combat patrol by Chinese fighter jets and bombers of the fishing ground due to Hague ruling. There may be military conflict if the Philippines tries to break into the disputed fishing ground.

Therefore, there shall first of all be crisis management and then permission to allow Philippine fishermen to fish there.

The Hague arbitration ruling has made things much more complicated. China utterly rejects the ruling so that it cannot allow Philippine fishermen to fish there if Philippine President Duterte insists that it has fishing rights based on the ruling. However, if Duterte fails to insist, he may be unpopular among his people whose nationalism has surged due to the ruling. Perhaps, the best way out for the two countries is to have an agreement allowing Philippine fishermen fishing there due to long-term friendship between the two countries.

I have reblogged Reuters’ report today on Duterte’s desire to seek alliance with Russia and China. He is obviously clear of the Cold War between the camp of China and Russia and that of the US. China and Russia’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) focuses on economic cooperation and regional security. Duterte wants both: cooperation to boost Philippine economy and help him deal with rebel forces.

Duterte is a better president. His predecessor pitted the US against China and began to arm the country, but Duterte wants peace. His predecessor refused China’s invitation of talks to resolve the disputes but he took initiative to talk. If he is sincere in resolving the disputes through talks, alliance with the US is useless for him as it is entirely a military alliance.

“Every alliance has a horse and a rider.” said Stephen Blank, a senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council. Mr. Blank defines US view on alliance very well. The US, as the strongest, always wants to be the rider and treat its allies as the horses. However, the rider fails to take care of the horse’s rights and interests. Duterte is so disappointed that he wants to end Philippines’ alliance with the US. The Philippines is tired of being a horse to serve the US as the rider. It wants to nd switch to alliance with Russia and China.

China and Russia’s view on alliance is entirely different. Alliance is a very close friendship in which there is no need for a certain member to be the lord over others. For example, the SCO is led by both China and Russia as neither of them wants to be the only leader. The weaker members of SCO in Central Asia enjoys Russian security protection and Chinese economic assistance.

For Deterte, there is the need of security protection to deal with rebels though no need with regard to China if he succeeds in improving ties with China. However Chinese economic assistance will be very attractive.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report “Philippines’ Duterte wants to ‘open alliances’ with Russia, China” today which I have reblogged and SCMP’s report “South China Sea fishing rights at top of Philippine president’s agenda in Beijing”, full text of which can be viewed at South China Sea fishing rights at top of Philippine president’s agenda in Beijing.


Philippines’ Duterte wants to ‘open alliances’ with Russia, China


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the military's Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern Philippines September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the military’s Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern Philippines September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would visit Russia and China this year to chart an independent foreign policy and “open alliances” with two powers with historic rivalries with the United States.

Duterte said the Philippines was at the “point of no return” in relations with former colonial ruler the United States, so he wanted to strengthen ties with others, and picked two global powers that have been sparring with Washington on the international political stage.

Last week, he last declared he would visit China, with which ties remain frosty over a South China Sea arbitration ruling won by the Philippines in July. He said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was expecting him in Moscow.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

An arbitration court in The Hague in July invalidated China’s claims to the waterway in a case brought by the Philippines, a ruling Beijing refuses to recognize.

“I am ready to not really break (U.S.) ties but we will open alliances with China and… Medvedev,” Duterte told reporters, adding he would open up the “other side of the ideological barrier”.

He welcomed investment and shrugged off rating agency Standard and Poor’s concerns last week about the Philippine economy on his watch.

“Never mind about the ratings,” he said. “I will open up the Philippines for them to do business, alliances of trade and commerce.”

The peso fell on Monday to its lowest since 2009, and foreign investors have dumped local shares for six straight weeks, worried about Duterte’s anti-U.S. rhetoric and brutal war on drugs, which has alarmed rights groups at home and abroad.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the Philippine government had not contacted the United States about the comments made by Duterte.

U.S. cooperation with the Philippine government remains strong and the United States has not seen anything that would indicate a shift by Manila, Toner said at a daily news briefing.

“They’re a sovereign nation and we’re certainly not going to hold them back from pursuing closer relations with either of those countries. … It’s not a zero-sum game,” he said.

Duterte also said he would open up telecoms and airlines, two domestic sectors long controlled by local players and criticized for being uncompetitive. He did not elaborate.

His vitriol against the United States has become a near-daily occurrence, sparking both amusement and concern. On Monday he accused Washington of “hypocrisy” and “lording it over us”.

His latest swipe included ruling out participation in any maritime conflict initiated by the United States, despite a 1951 treaty which Duterte said required Manila to back Washington.

“I am about to cross the Rubicon between me and the U.S.,” he said,” without elaborating. “It’s the point of no return.”

Toner said he would dispute Duterte’s premise that the United States might start a maritime conflict. “The United states has a strong security presence in the Asia-Pacific region, but we’re certainly not looking to start a military action against anyone,” he said.

It was unclear whether Duterte’s outbursts will affect relations between the two countries, whose militaries have scheduled joint exercises in October.

On Monday, the U.S. embassy in Manila announced two-week deployment of a pair of C130 planes and 100 troops at an air base in the central Philippines, the third of its kind this year, as part of a rotational troops agreement.

Separately, Duterte said the United Nations, European Union and United States would get a free hand to investigate killings in his anti-narcotics campaign, but only under Philippine laws.

Deaths in the campaign have averaged more than 40 a day since Duterte took office on June 30.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato and Enrico dela Cruz; Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Editing by Martin Petty, Nick Macfie and David Gregorio)

Source: Reuters “Philippines’ Duterte wants to ‘open alliances’ with Russia, China”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China to build outposts for Tajik guards on Tajikistan-Afghanistan border


A view of a bridge to Afghanistan across Panj river in Panji Poyon border outpost, south of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, May 31, 2008. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

A view of a bridge to Afghanistan across Panj river in Panji Poyon border outpost, south of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, May 31, 2008. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

China plans to finance and build several outposts and other facilities to beef up Tajikistan’s defense capabilities along its border with Afghanistan, the Tajik government said on Monday.

The Central Asian nation’s 1,345-km border with its southern neighbor is leaky and Dushanbe routinely reports clashes between border guards and armed drug smugglers there.

The increased activity of Afghan Taliban in the northern Kunduz province is another source of concern.

A large part of the main highway connecting Tajikistan’s most populous regions to China lies along the same border and armed trespassers this year kidnapped several Tajiks doing maintenance works on that road.

In a decree published on Monday, the government instructed the State National Security Committee to sign an agreement with the Chinese side which provides for the construction of eleven outposts of different sizes and a training center for border guards.

China, which according to official statistics sells goods worth $2.5 billion a year to Tajikistan has already built one outpost on the Tajik-Afghan border, its first one, earlier this year.

Russia used to station its own border guards on the frontier until 2005, and after that kept a regiment in the Tajik city of Kulyab, 42 km (25 miles) from the Afghan border. But Moscow pulled the regiment out in December last year and moved it to the capital, Dushanbe, about 200 km further away.

(Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

Source: Reuters “China to build outposts for Tajik guards on Tajikistan-Afghanistan border”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s orbiting quantum satellite links with ground stations


China launched the world's first quantum satellite on top of a Long March-2D rocket on August 16. Photo: Xinhua

China launched the world’s first quantum satellite on top of a Long March-2D rocket on August 16. Photo: Xinhua

SCMP says in its report on September 24 that the world first quantum satellite launched by China in August has satisfactorily established a quantum channel between the satellite and ground stations according to Pan Jianwei, China’s leader expert in quantum physics.

Initial results from the satellite is encouraging as Pan’s team had successfully passed photons, or particles of light, between the satellite and ground stations in Tibet and Xinjiang autonomous regions.

SCMP says, “The plan is to eventually send a quantum cryptographic key via the satellite from Beijing to Vienna to demonstrate that the technology can be used for unhackable communication.”

However, there are still lots of challenges such as preventing photon signals from getting lost in the atmosphere and protecting photons from the interference of daylight.

Source: SCMP “China’s orbiting quantum satellite links with ground stations”, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2022320/chinas-orbiting-quantum-satellite-links-ground-stations.


China’s giant radio telescope tunes in to the universe


The Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) has a 500 metre diameter. Photo: AFP

The Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) has a 500 metre diameter. Photo: AFP

SCMP says in its report today that China’s world largest radio telescope with a diameter of 500 meters went into operation yesterday. “It took five years and US$180 million to complete and surpasses that of the 300 metre Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, “ says SCMP.

Source: SCMP “China’s giant radio telescope tunes in to the universe”. Full text of the report can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2022470/chinas-giant-radio-telescope-tunes-universe


China’s version of GPS ‘is now just as accurate’


A Long March heads into space from northwestern China. Some 20 more satellites are planned for launch as part of the country’s global positioning system. Photo: Xinhua

A Long March heads into space from northwestern China. Some 20 more satellites are planned for launch as part of the country’s global positioning system. Photo: Xinhua

SCMP says in its report today, “Developer of Beidou global positioning system says it can match performance of US rival

“China’s Beidou navigation system is now accurate within centimetres and on par with the US Global Positioning System (GPS), said a scientist who has been developing the technology.

“The system could even offer more precise positioning services than its US rival within China, but further support was needed to make GPS users switch to Beidou, navigational-systems expert Xu Ying said at a technology expo in Hong Kong on Sunday.”

Source: SCMP “China’s version of GPS ‘is now just as accurate’”, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2022462/chinas-version-gps-now-just-accurate.


Canada, China sign law enforcement agreements during Li visit


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks to Montreal businessmen at the 6th China-Canada Economic & Trade Cooperation Forum in Montreal, Canada September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks to Montreal businessmen at the 6th China-Canada Economic & Trade Cooperation Forum in Montreal, Canada September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Canada and China signed three law enforcement accords among the 29 agreements made during Premier Li Keqiang’s Canadian visit, the countries said in a joint statement on Saturday.

One agreement concerned the “sharing and return of forfeited assets” and another, cooperation between border agencies, according to the statement posted on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s website.

A third agreement was a memorandum of understanding on “combating crime” between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ministry of Public Security of China. The statement offered few other details.

Li visited Canada from Wednesday to Saturday.

Trudeau, a Liberal elected last year, is trying to improve ties and increase trade with China, the world’s second-largest economy, after a decade of rocky relations under his Conservative predecessor.

The countries on Thursday settled a trade dispute and said they would start exploratory talks on a free trade pact.

Both nations are talking about an extradition treaty, which China has long wanted so it can press for the return of what it says are corrupt officials who fled to Canada. Human rights advocates oppose this, citing what they say is a flawed Chinese justice system.

Trudeau’s press secretary, Cameron Ahmad, said the prime minister’s office did not have details on hand about the law enforcement agreements and forwarded questions to Public Safety Canada. The department, which handles federal law enforcement, did not immediately respond.

The Chinese embassy in Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The statement, which carried Friday’s date, was posted online on Saturday because the agreements were finalized late on Friday, Ahmad said.

In the statement, the countries said also they want to double two-way visits by 2025 based on 2015 statistics and agreed to cooperate in fields including science, sports, trade and aviation.

(Reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Source: Reuters “Canada, China sign law enforcement agreements during Li visit”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.