With Philippines Seeking Détente, China Prevails in South China Sea


Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez says the Philippines is not giving up its claims but seeking a way to become a peaceful neighbour with China. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

SCMP says in its report “No South China Sea trade-off for economic gains, Philippines says”:

Manila pursues twin track with Beijing, separating maritime disputes from finance and trade ties

Manila is unlikely to compromise on its maritime sovereignty despite Beijing’s chequebook diplomacy and economic inducements, according to the Philippines’ finance chief.

In an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post, Philippine Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez said Manila was trying to protect its interests by separating maritime disputes from its efforts to woo Chinese investment.

Putting aside the dispute and conducting win-win cooperation in resource exploitation is precisely what China wants so that what Manila has been doing precisely plays into China’s hands.

SCMP says that other claimants especially Vietnam is unhappy, but what can they do?

With China’s strong military and artificial islands and the US unwilling to fight China for other claimants’ interests the South China Sea is already China’ lake. Other claimants can do nothing even if China wants to have all the resources there alone. They must regard themselves as lucky that China is willing to share as China has a tradition of being friendly to its neighbors.

Be realistic to cooperate with China. There is no other ways out for other claimants as the US is unwilling and unable to fight for them.

If China has grown even stronger and the US continues its decline, they may even lose the chance to have a share of the resources in the South China Sea. No one can ensure that China’s future leaders will continue Chinese current leaders’ policy of détente.

What if Chinese military drives away all other claimants from the islands and reefs claimed by China as its territories but occupied by others? What if China conducts resource exploitation alone with the technology and equipment other claimants cannot afford and with the protection of Chinese navy and air force?

Think about that.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2105582/no-south-china-sea-trade-economic-gains-philippines.

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3 Comments on “With Philippines Seeking Détente, China Prevails in South China Sea”

  1. Steve says:

    China holds a trump card in Huangyan Island/Scarborough Shoal, the gateway to the Pacific ocean and less than 200km from PH. This is a strategic location for China’s military. As long as China controls it, there is nothing PH can do, but go along the way with China. President Duterte is basically laying the China – PH foundation for better relations. When highly successful, future PH Presidents will see the benefits of a pro China relations compared to a useless US alliance.

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  2. Fre Okin says:

    Vietnam is the biggest criminal in the SCS. No country occupy Half of the Spratlys like what VN do and no country loot as much oil from SCS as Vietnam for Decades. VN insist on drilling oil/gas with foreign companies even though she don’t have 100% legal rights in the Disputed areas.

    China should persuade PH as chair and other ASEAN nations to issue a communique she agree to the COC and make VN look bad. This way VN will be on record as the belligerent party with no honesty and if there is any confrontation, VN will look bad among fellow ASEANS.

    China Win if she can get PH to issue such a statement Fast and Deny VN a chance to negotiate a better statement to suit her. This is a wonderful time to Checkmate Vietnam. PH is just posturing to please her domestic audience, so just harmless bark China can live with.

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    • Steve says:

      VN is playing the smarty Cat…When China comes Barking, the Cat retreats. Another problem for China is that for decades VN has been the looter, when China suffered extreme poverty unable to patrol the SCS waters. China is still reforming, modernising and facing headwinds from the Korean peninsula, ECS, SCS/FONs, Vietnam, India, Taiwan and have to avoid military confrontations unless a necessity. China need to maintain it’s economic momentum, growth and has a much bigger fish to fry, i.e. the scoundrels (US) with Trump trying to impose sanctions avoiding a trade war.

      PH has no common boundary to protect against its distant neighbours. Still stricken with poverty, deplorable infrastructures and just about lack of everything especially it’s military. I believe Duterte is 100% pro-China and seriously seek China’s economic partnership.

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