Xi Rejects Duterts’s Arbitration Claim but Willing to Maintain Amity with Him


ABS-CBN News says in its report “Xi rejects Philippines’ arbitral win in South China Sea” yesterday”, “Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected the Philippines’ legal victory against China on the South China Sea after President Rodrigo Duterte raised the arbitral ruling during their bilateral meeting in Beijing Thursday.”

However, the report quotes Philippine Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo as saying in a statement “Both President Duterte and President Xi agreed that while their variant positions will have to remain, their differences however need not derail nor diminish the amity between the two countries.” Moreover, it is still possible for the two countries to jointly explore and exploit the energy resources in the disputed waters according to the statement.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on ABS-CBN News’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/08/30/19/xi-rejects-philippines-arbitral-win-in-south-china-sea.


Beijing tour ‘raging success’


By Mario J. Mallari –
April 29, 2019 12:05 AM

The short three-day swing of President Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing was hailed as one of his most successful foreign visits after clinching a commitment for peace from President Xi Jinping and $12 billion pledge of new investments.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. described the visit as a “raging success.”
“Actually the Belt and Road Forum (visit) is a raging success,” declared Locsin in a social media post.

Locsin was among the Cabinet members who joined President Duterte during the four-day visit to China.

Apart from attending the Second Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation, Mr. Duterte had bilateral meetings with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo noted Duterte’s trip paved the way for the signing of 19 business agreements on investments such as in energy, infrastructure including tourism-related facilities and for the speeding up of internet connectivity, improving agriculture productivity and providing Filipinos with skills training.

“As Mr. Duterte noted, the People’s Republic of China is the largest trading partner and a major source of foreign investments of the Philippines,” Panelo said.

Panelo disclosed the President also met with top Chinese leaders where he affirmed the country’s commitment to friendship and understanding with China.

Area of restraint
“He expressed the country’s readiness to pursue more high-quality and good-impact projects,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping yielded a 1 billion renminbi (over P7 billion) grant to the Philippines,” he added.

Duterte reiterated to Xi his resolve to endeavor to make the West Philippine Sea (WPS) a sea of peace, stability and prosperity.

“He expounded the need for both countries to exercise restraint and caution to avoid actions that could complicate situations,” Panelo said.

Meanwhile, Panelo pointed out that President Duterte also advocated the protection and welfare of migrant workers during the High-Level Meeting Session 1 of the forum.

Duterte pitched for the development assistance based on reciprocal benefits, Panelo added.

Inclusive prosperity
In his last day in China, Panelo said. Duterte attended the Leaders’ Roundtable Sessions in the Yanqi Lake International Conference Center where he emphasized the value of the nations, especially in Asia, working together with a shared goal of inclusive and sustainable growth and prosperity.

“He welcomed economic investments that will help our country improve its economic productivity in the area of agriculture as well as in our country’s massive infrastructure development program while ensuring that it will be clean and green,” Panelo said.

Panelo, meanwhile, assured Filipinos that Duterte is chartering an “independent foreign policy to a new height of diplomatic relations with other nations.”

He said this independent policy will be solely based on national security and interest, national development and the aspiration to attain economic progress and a comfortable life.

Corruption-free
During the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Xi, the Philippines also bagged a 1-billion renminbi grant from China.

The investment agreements were worth $12.165 billion and could generate 21,000 fresh jobs for Filipinos.

Duterte vowed to prospective foreign investors an enabling environment in the Philippines to help their businesses and investments prosper, highlighting his administration’s anti-corruption campaign.”

Locsin said the Philippines and China also agreed to ensure that the implementation of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are free from corruption.

“Another agreement is a clean Belt and Road Initiative between China and Philippines anti-corruption bodies to prevent and punish corruption in BRI projects,” Locsin said in a separate post.

Sole option
Peaceful negotiations remain the sole option for the country in addressing the WPS issue with China, according to former Senate President and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino senatorial bet Juan Ponce-Enrile.

Enrile cited Republic Act (RA) 9522 or the Philippines Archipelagic Baselines Law as basis in pursuing the country’s claims over the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and the Scarborough Shoal in the WPS.

“The KIG or the regime of islands there are under our baseline law. We should negotiate that with China,” Enrile told the Daily Tribune.

“The only capability we have is through negotiations, we must use patience in negotiating with China,” he added.

Enrile, one of the authors of RA 9522, said the Philippine baselines law was provided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas.

Commitment to laws
“The baseline law not only enabled us to defend, protect and preserve our own national territory but also to signify the Philippines’ strong commitment to adhere to the tenets of the international law of the seas,” Enrile said.

The former Senate President reiterated that close cooperation and enhanced bilateral relations with China is the right path.

Earlier, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the Philippines will focus on the positive sides of the relationship with China rather than the differences, like the dispute in the WPS.

He, however, stressed the Duterte administration is not remiss in its constitutional duty of protecting the country’s sovereignty and territory.

Source: Tribune “Beijing tour ‘raging success’”

Note: This is Tribune’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Philippines’ president made call on China’s sea research – spokesman


FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, wearing a military uniform, gestures as he attends the 67th founding anniversary of the First Scout Ranger regiment in San Miguel town, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Reuters Staff January 15, 2018 / 8:34 PM / Updated 14 hours ago

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally made a decision to let China conduct scientific research off the Philippines’ Pacific coast, his spokesman said on Monday, despite concern among critics about threats to maritime sovereignty.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that as chief architect of foreign policy, Duterte allowed China to work with the University of the Philippines in Benham Rise, an area roughly the size of Greece and believed by some scientists to be rich in biodiversity and tuna.

The United Nations declared Benham Rise, off the Pacific coast, part of the continental shelf of the Philippines in 2012. Manila last year renamed it the “Philippine Rise”.

Though China does not lay claim to the area, the lingering presence of its vessels for several months in late 2016 triggered concern about its intentions.

The Philippines granting of the permission to China was not announced and was revealed a few days ago by a lawmaker who has been fiercely critical of Duterte’s close ties with Beijing.

The Philippines and China have a long history of maritime squabbles over sovereignty in the South China Sea, but there has been no disagreement about waters off Manila’s Pacific coast.

Roque said anyone opposed to the joint research project should go to Congress and raise the issue there.

“If this is not a wise move of the president, then a law could be enacted to prohibit it,” he said.

The Philippines would grant permission to any other country that might show interest in conducting maritime research at Benham Rise, he added.

Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel

Source: Reuters “Philippines’ president made call on China’s sea research – spokesman”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


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.


Philippines’ Duterte says South China Sea arbitration case to take ‘back seat’


President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte (L) shakes hands with Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (R), as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C) looks on, at airport in Beijing, China, October 18, 2016. CNS Photo via REUTERS

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte (L) shakes hands with Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (R), as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C) looks on, at airport in Beijing, China, October 18, 2016. CNS Photo via REUTERS

The South China Sea arbitration case will “take the back seat” during talks with China, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday in Beijing, adding that he would wait for the Chinese to bring up the dispute rather than doing so himself.

Duterte arrived in Beijing on Tuesday with at least 200 top business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance, amid deteriorating ties with longtime ally the United States.

The effort to engage China, months after the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled over South China Sea disputes in favor of the Philippines, marks a reversal in Philippine foreign policy since Duterte took office on June 30.

China refused to participate in the arbitration case or recognize its findings.

Speaking to reporters at his hotel, Duterte described the judgment as a “piece of paper”.

“It would not be in keeping with courtesy and goodwill if I am the one to open it,” he said. “And you will say, will it take a back seat? Of course, it has to take the back seat.”

China has welcomed the shift in tone that has added to strains between the Philippines and the United States, even as Duterte has vowed not to surrender any sovereignty to Beijing.

Duterte said on Sunday he would raise the arbitral ruling, and vowed not to deviate from the tribunal’s award.

Speaking in Beijing, Duterte said he did not want to make any “hard impositions” on the South China Sea, and would wait for Chinese President Xi Jinping to raise the subject.

“I have to be courteous and I have to wait for your president to mention it in passing for me to respond,” he said.

“It is in the broader outline of talks that we have agreed. But as a matter of courtesy, and the oriental way, we will always wait because I am a visitor. I cannot destroy the goodwill just by blurting out something.”

STRONG TIES WITH CHINA, OTHERS

In a series of conflicting statements, Duterte has insulted U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. ambassador in Manila for questioning his war on drugs, which has led to the deaths of 2,300 people. He told Obama to “go to hell” and alluded to severing U.S. ties.

Speaking earlier, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said territorial disputes between China and the Philippines may take a lifetime to resolve, but should not prevent warming ties.

On Wednesday, Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters in Beijing that Bank of China had agreed to provide a $3 billion credit facility for infrastructure investments in the Philippines.

Their remarks came as Philippine police used teargas to disperse about 1,000 anti-American protesters outside the U.S. embassy in Manila.

Yasay reiterated that the thaw with China was “not going to erode our close ties with the rest of our allies and traditional partners”.

“As we renew our ties with this great nation, it does not mean that we are weakening ties with the rest of the members of the international community. This is at the core of the independent foreign policy that our president has moved and put forward,” he said.

After weeks of anti-American rhetoric, Duterte said the Philippines would maintain its existing defense treaties and its military alliances.

China has expressed support for Duterte’s drug war, even as it has sparked concerns in Western capitals about extrajudicial killings.

Philippine police made 29 arrests at the rally outside the U.S. embassy, where protesters were calling for the removal of American troops in the southern island of Mindanao.

(Additional reporting by Karen Lema in Manila; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel and Mike Collett-White)

Source: Reuters “Philippines’ Duterte says South China Sea arbitration case to take ‘back seat’”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Ahead of China visit, Philippine leader says no sense in war


President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a gathering of businessmen in Pasay city, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Erik De Castro

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a gathering of businessmen in Pasay city, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING Mon Oct 17, 2016 | 7:15am EDT

There is no sense in going to war over the disputed South China Sea as talks are far better, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told China’s official Xinhua news agency, praising China for not criticizing his country, unlike Western nations.

Duterte goes to China on Tuesday with at least 200 members of the Philippine business elite to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance, amid deteriorating ties with longtime ally the United States.

On Sunday, Duterte said 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.

The ruling dealt a blow to China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea. Beijing has refused to recognize the case and has chided any country telling it to abide by the ruling.

In the Xinhua interview published on Monday, Duterte said he wanted negotiation, not confrontation, over the South China Sea.

“There is no sense in going to war. There is no sense fighting over a body of water,” Duterte said.

In Brunei, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said the South China Sea issue was not the sum total of the relationship between China and the Philippines, but the time was not yet right to discuss resolving it.

“We still have to build up the lost trust and confidence that was weakened or eroded during the past administration,” Yasay told reporters.

“But then we should not also miss out on the opportunities for trade and economic relationship that we would need as much as China.”

Duterte also expressed gratitude to China for not criticizing his war on drugs, which has sparked concerns in Western capitals about extrajudicial killings, with Philippine police saying it has killed nearly 2,300 people.

“China never criticizes,” Duterte said in the Xinhua interview. “They help us quietly.”

The unpredictable president’s moves to engage China, just a few months after the arbitral award sparked fears in the region of a backlash by Beijing in the South China Sea, mark a striking reversal in Philippine foreign policy since he took office on June 30.

Duterte told Xinhua his grandfather is Chinese.

“It’s only China (that) can help us.”

China’s Foreign Ministry earlier sought to downplay Duterte’s Sunday remarks on the arbitration.

Asked about his comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Duterte would make his policy in the best interests of his country and people.

“China’s door has always been open to the Philippines, and I think you’ve also noticed that President Duterte has many times said he wants dialogue with China,” she added.

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: Reuters “Ahead of China visit, Philippine leader says no sense in war”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


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 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-china-idUSKBN12G06D.