Philippines Frustrated, Enraged by US Failures to Help ItPosted: March 23, 2017
The Philippines is weak and poor. It relies on the US to protect its interests in its South China Sea disputes with China. However, it has turned out that the US is unable or unwilling to protect Philippines’ interests. Then Philippine leaders are faced with the questions: Why had the US pressured the Philippines to challenge China? Why did the US tell the Philippines to file an arbitration against China but had not helped it enforce the arbitration award? Did the US use the Philippines as a pawn to create trouble for China?
Entirely disappointed and frustrated and greatly enraged, Philippine President Duterte took a 180 degree turn in Philippine diplomacy to seek friendship with China and become unfriendly and to some extent hostile to the US, Philippines’ old ally.
Quite some media ascribe Duterte’s change in Philippines diplomacy to his personal factors, but I repeatedly made the above analysis in my previous posts.
Now Reuters report “Philippines’ Duterte derides U.S. for past inaction in South China Sea” today precisely proves my analysis.
The report says that Duterte “accused the previous U.S. administration of pressuring the Philippines to take a stand against China, without a guarantee of military support” and said that the US was “bound by a treaty to protect the Philippines, but had done nothing when China started building in parts of Manila’s its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).”
It quotes Duterte as saying, “Why in hell, America, the only one who can act there, why did it want my navy to go there? It will be a massacre for my soldiers.”
The US simply does not want to fight for the Philippines as it has no actual interests in the South China Sea except those related to its world hegemony, but it is not strong enough to fight for the hegemony now. That is why its new president wants to make the US great again.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:
Philippines’ Duterte derides U.S. for past inaction in South China Sea
By Martin Petty and Neil Jerome Morales | MANILA Thu Mar 23, 2017 | 12:10pm EDT
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday accused the United States of having a provocative stance on the South China Sea and said its inaction when China started building manmade islands was the cause of tensions now besetting the region.
Duterte said Washington’s freedom of navigation patrols risked a “miscalculation” that could spark conflict, and accused the previous U.S. administration of pressuring the Philippines to take a stand against China, without a guarantee of military support.
“You go there in the pretence of challenging them?” he said of the U.S. patrols that began under the Obama administration. “One single solitary shot, it could lead to an explosion and it could lead to a war and it will be a slaughter.”
The firebrand leader is open about his grudge against his country’s oldest ally, which he said was bound by a treaty to protect the Philippines, but had done nothing when China started building in parts of Manila’s its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“Why in hell, America, the only one who can act there, why did it want my navy to go there? It will be a massacre for my soldiers,” he told an audience of lawyers.
“Why did you not, the first instance, go to Chinese working there, building structures there?”
He added: “Why did you not reprimand them? Why did you not send five aircraft carriers? And you had to wait for the problem to ripen to an international issue involving, this time, so many countries.
“You could have cut the problem in the bud had you taken a decisive action.”
Duterte’s comments came amid concern in the Philippines that China would build several environmental monitoring stations in disputed waters, including on the Scarborough Shoal 124 miles off the Philippine coast. China has dismissed that as “not true”.
The United States insists it wants to preserve freedom of navigation and oversight in the strategic waterway and that its actions are not a provocation.
In contrast to his tirade against Washington, Duterte did not criticize China, which he is trying to cultivate as a buyer of farm produce, and builder of its infrastructure.
His overtures toward a country long regarded by Manila as a maritime aggressor marked an astonishing foreign policy shakeup. Recalling his remarks at an October meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, he said the two had a lot in common.
“I decided to change a little bit our foreign policy,” he said.
“Why is it that we are too far from trade and commerce with China? They said we are Americans. Said who? – China.
“I went to China, (and said) ‘I don’t like Americans, we’re the same. I came to shake your hand and if I can have participation in trade and commerce’.”
He invited China to send a battleship to visit the Philippines and suggested sharing offshore energy resources in the Philippine EEZ that China lays claim to.
“Even if I like to claim it all, I have no capital, even the rigs and everything, we cannot afford it,” he said.
Duterte said it was pointless trying to challenge China’s fortification of its manmade islands and ridiculed the media for referring to a comment he made during his election campaign, when he said he would ride a jet-ski to one Beijing’s reclaimed reefs, and put a Philippine flag there.
“We cannot stop them because they are building it with their mind fixed that they own the place. China will go to war,” he said. “People want me to jet ski. These fools believed me.”
(Editing by Alison Williams)