The US Losing Philippines Its Only Ally in South China Sea


CNN says in its report “Philippines formally ends Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with US” yesterday, “The Philippines has finally sent the United States a notice to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, marking the start of the 180-day period from when the two-decade military pact will be effectively scrapped. Malacañang on Tuesday confirmed that the document has been signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Tedoro ‘Teddy Boy’ Locsin, Jr. and sent to the US government.”

That worries Philippine Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon as according to him, scrapping VFA will make ineffective the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the two countries (EDCA), which allows the US military to use and control five bases in the Philippines. He says, “If the VFA and EDCA are no longer effective, then the MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries), as mentioned by Sec. Locsin, would be inutile and would serve no purpose,”

However, the MDT has already proved by facts as serving no purpose as proved by US inaction during the Scarborough standoff between the Philippines and China. The US did not defend Philippines’ claimed rights to Scarborough Shoal. As a result, the shoal has entirely been taken over by China and Philippine fishermen who fished on the shoal and in the area around the shoal, were forbidden to fish there.

The US told the Philippines to file an arbitration at The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague and helped it to get a favorable ruling. The US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to accept the ruling but China challenged it with war. The US failed to fight a war to defend the rights the Philippines claims. Since the US has failed to defend the Philippines, the MDT has already been inutile and been proved serving no purpose.

Media are used to blame China’s influence for the Philippines distancing from its long-term ally the US. The truth is facts have made the Philippines see that its alliance with the US serves no purpose.

It is only possible for the US to defend the Philippines when China attack the Philippines but China simply will not do so. It has no intention to take back the islands and reefs it claims but are occupied by the Philippines. On the contrary, it wants win-win cooperation to exploit the natural resources in disputed areas.

Before Scarborough standoff, China and the Philippines both fished there but the Philippines tried to forbade Chinese fishing but had its own fishing banned by China there. The US did nothing to help the Philippines.

When he Philippines accepted China’s win-win suggestion, China allowed the Philippines to fish there.

The same with the exploitation of energy resources in disputed areas. China does not allow the Philippines to exploit the resources alone but is willing to conduct win-win cooperation with the Philippines in exploiting the resources.

If the Philippines is not willing, China can wait as it is rich and has no urgent need to exploit the resources. The Philippines, however, is poor and wants urgently to exploit the resources. As a result, it is trying hard now to find an acceptable way to cooperate with China to exploit the resources there.

The above proves that the US has in effect lost its only ally the Philippines in the South China Sea.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNN’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/2/11/Philippines-ends-VFA-United-States.html.


China Pursues Win-win Cooperation, Not Zero Sum Ball Game in South China Sea


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.


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.


US Media Ignores Beijing Treating Vietnam in South China Sea Same as Philippines


In its article “South China Sea: Beijing Shouldn’t Treat Vietnam Like The Philippines” Forbes seems to forget that China disallows Vietnam’s drilling for energy resources in the South China Sea without cooperation with China just as it has been doing to the Philippines.

China has successfully stopped Vietnam’s drilling there while making arrangement for cooperation with the Philippines in surveying and exploiting energy in disputed area.

The difference lies in Vietnam and the Philippines. China is also willing to cooperate with Vietnam in that respect. Only Vietnam is not willing to at present. However, it cannot do so alone without China’s consent.

Beijing shouldn’t treat Vietnam like the Philippines? Beijing treats the two countries precisely the same on exploitation of energy resources.

It is also the same with regard to fishing. Like the Philippines, Vietnam and China both fish in the disputed areas. Only the Philippines tried to ban Chinese fishing but caused China’s response of banning Philippine fishing there. The ban was lifted when Duterte sought friendship with China. The US though an ally of the Philippines did not help the Philippines when Chinese navy banned Philippine fishing there. That was why Duterte switched to seek friendship with China.

Vietnam and China both fish in the disputed areas. When a Vietnamese fishing boat did something not allowed by China, it was sunk by a Chinese one. Vietnam simply could do nothing while the US simply ignored that.

China is treating Vietnam just the same as it does the Philippines. Why? China has declared that its rights and interests in the South China Sea are China’s core interests. It will fight a war to defend its interests.

Will US Navy join Vietnam when there is a military conflict between Vietnam and China due the dispute? It doesn’t seem that the US will fight a war with China for Philippines’ let alone Vietnam’s interests there. The US is not Vietnam’s ally! That is why there is peace there.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Forbes’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2019/07/13/south-china-sea-beijing-shouldnt-treat-vietnam-like-the-philippines/#26eed89b5ff4.


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.


19 deals with Chinese businesses signed during Duterte’s China trip


If all the agreements are implemented by the Filipino and Chinese companies, they could bring in $12.2 billion worth of investments, says Malacañang

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is greeted by one of the leaders in attendance during the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the China National Convention Center in Beijing on April 26, 2019. Malacañang photo

Pia Ranada @piaranada

Published 8:47 PM, April 26, 2019
Updated 8:47 PM, April 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Nineteen agreements with Chinese companies were signed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China in April for the Belt and Road Forum.

The agreements, if all push through, could bring $12.165 billion (P634 trillion) worth of investments to the Philippines and could provide employment to 21,000 Filipinos, said Malacañang on Friday, April 26.

This is a staggering amount considering that the government’s entire budget for 2019 is P3.7 trillion. The Palace does not provide a breakdown of the estimated trillions in investment value.

Earlier that day, Duterte and Cabinet officials attended a forum with Chinese and Filipino businessmen interested in collaborating for ventures in the Philippines or that involve hiring Filipinos or buying Philippine products.

The 19 deals are a mix of memoranda of understanding, memoranda of agreement, purchase agreements, and one contract agreement.

Below is the list of agreements:

One of the deals is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the “construction and development of a nationwide public wi-fi system.”

It was signed by Salvador Zamora III, Tranzen Group chairman, and Luo Ning, chairman of CITIC Network Co Ltd, a Chinese company.

The project is supposed to establish a wi-fi network in “various capital cities and towns” in the Philippines which includes a network that will enable emergency services and information services, digital TV and satellite network services, “smart city” digital and internet services with fiber and wi-fi, and “other telecommunication services.”

There was also a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the training of Filipinos to serve as domestic helpers in China.

The MOA to “establish a strategic partnership to train and to introduce Filipino Domestic Helpers to China” was signed by Morrys Ang of the Philippine International Overseas Management Systems, Inc and Gao Wen of Guofa Major Project Management Co Ltd.

Among the more concrete deals signed was a contract agreement for a proposed South Pulangi Hydroelectric Powerplant.

It was signed by Josue Lapitan, president and CEO of Pulangi Hydro Power Corporation. On the Chinese side, it was signed by Dong Bin, chairman of China Energy Co Ltd.

Six agreements involved the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority led by its administrator, Raul Lambino:
•MOU on proposed CEZA Asparas Yacht Club
•MOU on proposed Green Textile Industry Park
•MOU on proposed expansion of the Lallo Airport or Cagayan North International Airport
•MOU on a proposed integrated resort with theme parks and amenities, manufacturing plant for lithium batteries, duty-free supermarket for imported and local merchandise, township development with support infrastructure and utilities, financial technology solutions center
•MOU on establishment of fintech hub and financial center with entertainment facilities, dormitories, supermarket, restaurants, and coffee shops, and the development of an integrated resort and boutique hotel
•MOU on proposed establishment of a “comprehensive smart city”

Two agreements were actual purchase framework agreements. Chinese company Goodfarmer Foods Holding agreed to buy pineapples from Philippine company PhilPack Corporation from April 1 to December 2019.

China Artest Corporation Fujian Company said it would buy young coconuts from the Philippines’ Eng Seng Food Products for an entire year, from March 2019 to March 2020.

Duterte’s Special Envoy for China, Fernando “Ding” Borja, is set to fly home with a deal of his own.

His company, Adnama Mining, signed an MOU on the proposed development and operation of an iron processing plant with Chinese companies A Fu Properties and Xiamen C&D. – Rappler.com

Source: Rappler.com “19 deals with Chinese businesses signed during Duterte’s China trip”

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


South China Sea: Philippines WARNS China of ‘suicide missions’ as alliance weakens


PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has warned China of “suicide missions” in the South China Sea.

By Claire Anderson

PUBLISHED: 00:56, Mon, Apr 15, 2019

UPDATED: 07:24, Mon, Apr 15, 2019

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Mr Duterte’s warning followed China’s increased presence around Pag-asa island, also known as Thitu. The island has reportedly been swarmed by hundreds of Chinese vessels. Mr Duterte said at a press conference: “I will not plead or beg, but I am just telling you that lay off the Pag-asa because I have soldiers there.

South China Sea: Philippines order Beijing to STOP endangering fisherm

“If you touch it, that’s another story.

“Then I will tell my soldiers ‘prepare for suicide missions’.”

The Philippines President has previously kept China as a close ally in the hope to attract trade and investment.

But he has called on the Chinese ships’ presence an “illegal” violation of Philippine sovereignty.

The country’s warning to China has reportedly strengthened the Philippine’s alliance with the US who are fighting to push back China’s hold on the disputed waters.

Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “China’s island building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten Philippine sovereignty, security and therefore economic livelihood, as well as that of the United States.

“As the South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defence obligations under Article 4 of our mutual defence treaty.”

The US Navy and participated in drills alongside the Philippines to practice recapturing small islands seized by a hypothetical foreign military force.

In the exercises, the US also tested a new application for its amphibious assault ships.

The waters are the world’s busiest trade route is also claimed by the likes of Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei.

So far, the US has conducted 15 freedom of navigation operations in the area since 2015.

The US also want allies to consider similar manoeuvres.

Source: Express “South China Sea: Philippines WARNS China of ‘suicide missions’ as alliance weakens”

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