Chinese, Philippine Leaders’ Wisdom Tested in Circumventing Hague RulingPosted: October 16, 2016
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 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-china-idUSKBN12G06D.