‘No place for flip-flopping on independent foreign policy’
MANILA, Philippines – There is no room for flip-flopping in President Duterte’s pursuit of an independent and principled foreign policy, former foreign affairs chief Albert del Rosario said.
Speaking at Miriam College in Quezon City yesterday, Del Rosario said the government should affirm and clarify its foreign policy direction, noting a number of unclear pronouncements by government officials since the new administration took over in June.
“Our foreign policy will be defined by the integrity of our national leadership. We cannot afford to have a foreign policy that flip-flops. We do not merit any credibility in the world if that’s the foreign policy that we will have,” he said.
Duterte has made a number of statements later clarified or modified by members of his Cabinet, such as an announcement of the separation of military and economic ties with the United States.
Just last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Duterte has backtracked and is now allowing Balikatan exercises to continue.
Del Rosario also scored the Duterte administration over its apparent foreign policy pivot to China. The former foreign affairs chief was one of the architects of the case the Philippines filed with a UN-backed international tribunal contesting China’s massive claim in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.
“Our foreign policy is not principled and independent when we threaten to burn bridges with our close friends who have historically stood with us during difficult times, since relations with old partners can co-exist with any new ones we may seek,” he said, referring to the US.
“[It] is neither principled nor independent unless we are able to answer this fundamental question: where is the wisdom if we are gearing to place our bets on the integrity and credibility of our northern neighbor, especially one in particular that vehemently rejects adhering to the rule of law?” he added, apparently referring to China.
The former DFA chief said an independent foreign policy does not mean the Philippines should exist in isolation “amid an increasingly complex and interdependent world.”
“We must respect the institutional arrangements that we entered into. We cannot be insulting the UN (United Nations), for example,” he said, apparently in reference to Duterte’s tirades against the international body and its Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon following its criticisms of alleged human rights violations in the conduct of the government’s war on illegal drugs.
Del Rosario and Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio were awarded by Miriam College with the Outstanding Leadership in Diplomatic Service Award for their role in the arbitration case against China.
Tags: Albert del Rosario, arbitration tribunal decision, Balikatan, Ban Ki-moon, Carpio, China, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte, foreign policy, human rights, Independent and Principled Foreign Policy, institutional arrangements, Japan, rule of law, South China Sea, U. S., United Nations, Vietnam, war on illegal drugs, West Philippine Sea