Disappointed with Alliance with US, Philippine Will Try Russia, ChinaPosted: September 27, 2016
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 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.