China Pursues Win-win Cooperation, Not Zero Sum Ball Game in South China SeaPosted: September 3, 2019
China’s rejection of 2016 tribunal ruling is not something new. Xi’s repeated statement that China is strong now so that no one will be able to force China to swallow the bitter fruit of losing its national rights and interests.
Philippine President Duterte knows that well. He knows that his country has no choice other than win-win cooperation with China. Therefore, though he was forced to mention the ruling, he had to accept Xi’s view that China will not accept the ruling but the ruling shall not affect the win-win cooperation between the two countries.
China seeks win-win cooperation with other countries in spite of the maritime territorial disputes. Therefore, it is not conducting a zero sum ball game with the Philippines. There is therefore no ball at all in Beijing’s court as described in SCMP’s article “Ball is in Beijing’s court’ on South China Sea after Rodrigo Duterte puts focus on international law”.
If Duterte had chosen and lost a zero sum ball game like his predicessor Aquino did, China would not have allowed Philippine fishermen to resume fishing at the Scarborough Shoal.
The article says, “The establishment of the joint steering committee on oil and gas cooperation, and an accompanying working group, also signalled some progress after the memorandum of understanding signed in November for joint resources development. But observers cautioned that domestic concerns, as well as institutional and legal issues, remained hurdles for its implementation.”
The oil and gas cooperation is the win-win cooperation China seeks. However, if the Philippines rejects such cooperation, China is well able to forbid Philippine exploration and exploitation of oil and gas there and explore and exploit the energy there alone.
China’s previous ban of Philippine exploitation of fish resources at Scarborough Shoal has made that very clear.
“Ball at Beijing’s court”? What ball? No ball game at all. Win-win cooperation is the only way out.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3025228/ball-beijings-court-south-china-sea-after-rodrigo-duterte-puts.