Chinese, Philippine Leaders’ Wisdom Tested in Circumventing Hague Ruling

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers a speech to the members of the Philippine Army during a visit at the army headquarters in Taguig city, metro Manila, Philippines October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers a speech to the members of the Philippine Army during a visit at the army headquarters in Taguig city, metro Manila, Philippines October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Philippine President Duterte wants better ties with China to be benefited by trade with and investment from China. China also has the desire to restore its previous good relations with the Philippines for ease of tension in the South China Sea and solution of border disputes with its neighbors.

However, as mentioned in my previous post, the arbitration ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is an obstacle very difficult to remove for improvement of their bilateral relations. Duterte may encounter fierce opposition at home if he fails to mention the ruling in his coming visit to China while China cannot budge even an inch in its stance to utterly deny the ruling. Otherwise, there will be nation-wide protests in China.

Previously there was news that Duterte would refrain from mentioning the ruling to avoid upsetting China. Now, however, Reuters says in its report today titled “Philippine leader says will raise arbitration case with China, won’t bargain”, “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he would raise a controversial arbitral ruling on the South China Sea with China’s leaders, and vowed not to surrender any sovereignty or deviate from the July award by the tribunal in The Hague.” That being the case, it will be very interesting to see what trick the leaders of the two countries will find to circumvent that insurmountable obstacle.

Before US President Nixon’s icebreaking visit to China, people wondered how China and the US would be able to circumvent the insurmountable obstacle of Taiwan issue, but Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger were able to find wise wording in their communiqué to satisfactorily circumvent it.

Now, it is Chinese and Philippines leaders’ turn as they are well aware that too much is at stake in that visit.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters report, full text of which can be viewed at


3 Comments on “Chinese, Philippine Leaders’ Wisdom Tested in Circumventing Hague Ruling”

  1. Joseph says:

    Talking about clueless, Reuters never actually mentioned when Duterte considered the PCA ruling as merely a piece of document paper that when not needed can be used as wrapper on food stall. Of course the wisdoms of both China and Phillipines leaders are being tested, just like any other head of state meetings. However, by looking where things are going, both of them really have nothing to worry about. There are lots of more pressing matters than Western wish to even glimpse the PCA. Duterte’s manner and attitude is really that of gentle and respectable stateman. The same cannot be said to American and Philippines leaders. They have not even met yet, the relationship is already worse than the typhoon Haiyan aftermath, despite American rethoric that the relationship of both countries remain ‘strong’. Duterte does not even try to present gentle manner he presents anybody else. Only cowboy manner to fit cowboys. Duterte’s wisdom toward Obama is very clear. He stated that he is not Obama’s subordinate to be reprimanded like naughty kids under their pig-muddled alliance. Obama’s wisdom toward Duterte is to avoid him altogether, perhaps to avoid losing his sanity on his already wrinkled face and white hair. Dealing with Duterte will turn him into a walking fossil leaving the White House. But really, it is not the wisdom of China and Philippines leaders that Reuters should concern about. It should be the wisdom of Western leaders to accept the outcomes of this meeting, no matter what they are. As it has been forseen, it will be as bad as it can be, for Phillipines the-now-so-called Western allies. How will Reuters report that? My guess is, as on right now, they are preparing another fictional story of fictional Philippines the way they made fictional Indonesia story when we kicked their collaborators out of government offices.


  2. Steve says:

    To circumvent is to bypass the thorny issues of the PCA tribunal ruling which the Philippines are holding on to dear life, as if they have won the world’s biggest lottery to alleviate poverty and raise their standards of living. Basically, this is to hoodwink both peoples that either China or Philippines has negotiated a bilateral negotiation that is advantageous to neither of them.

    The problem has long existed prior to the PCA award which China has declared illegal, null and void. It’s more of a political case rather than a legal issue since China has declared sovereignty to most of the nine dash line, considering some of the islands that has already being stolen by the Philippines and Malaysia.

    Both Presidents Xi and Duterte need to circumnavigate the SCS issues irrespective of the PCA award to demarcate the grey areas including stolen islands, to establish a new treaty between both nations and dump the farcical PCA arbitral tribunal award. The only way forward is to drum up a respectable treaty between both nations and dump the PCA award.


  3. johnleecan says:

    Just as before, Duterte usually change his stance so how can you trust this person? How will nations deal with this unpredictable president? How will investors have confidence?

    Maybe Duterte is doing what he is doing right now against the American government but in reality, he’s just using these tactics as bargaining chips. After getting what he wants from China, he’ll revert to being friendly to USA. With the Americans behind his back, he’ll bully China again just like the past presidents. The Americans will surely embrace him with open arms.