Posts Tagged ‘Philippine Sovereignty’

Philippines Prepares Protest vs China Over South China Sea Island Grab

March 21, 2017
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the administration’s planned course of action was in accordance with Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s suggestion that a strong formal protest against Beijing be filed with the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is preparing to formally protest China’s plan to install a radar station at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in violation of a ruling by a United Nations-backed international tribunal declaring the shoal a common fishing ground outside any country’s jurisdiction.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the administration’s planned course of action was in accordance with Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s suggestion that a strong formal protest against Beijing be filed with the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague.

“I think so, there will be (a protest to be filed). Medyo malakas-lakas ang ifa-file (A stronger one will be filed),” Aguirre said when asked about the issue in a chance interview.

Aguirre’s statement came on the heels of President Duterte’s voicing helplessness against China’s continued buildup of its forces in waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

But Aguirre assured the public that Duterte is committed to protect and defend the nation’s sovereignty despite the latter’s pronouncement that he could not stop China from building a structure at the shoal. “Definitely, he will not let go of (Panatag shoal),” Aguirre stressed.

“As a matter of fact, we are strengthening the relationship with the US,” Aguirre pointed out, indicating a potential shift from Duterte’s earlier declaration of separation from the US and a pivot to China.

The filing of a protest was among the five-point strategy suggested by Carpio for dealing with China’s reported plan to set up facilities at Panatag shoal.

The SC justice has also suggested sending Philippine Navy vessels to the shoal.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” he pointed out.

Carpio also stressed the government may ask the US to declare the shoal part of Philippine territory and accept the superpower’s offer to hold joint patrols in the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea.

The SC magistrate also advised Duterte to “avoid any act, statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.”

Carpio stressed that Panatag is part of the national territory under Republic Act No. 9522 (Philippine Baselines Law) and that President Duterte has the constitutional duty to defend it from China’s incursion.

He earlier warned that the installation of a radar system at the Panatag shoal will complete China’s air defense identification zone in the South China Sea.

In 2012, the Chinese seized the Panatag Shoal after a tense standoff with Philippine Navy personnel who had tried to arrest Chinese poachers in the area. The poachers were allowed to return to China with their illegal harvest of baby sharks, endangered corals and giant clams. The Chinese have never left the shoal since then.

A ruling in July last year by the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague upheld the Philippines’ entitlements in the West Philippine Sea but declared Panatag a common fishing ground. The shoal is only about 230 kilometers from the nearest coast in Luzon and close to 2,700 kilometers from China’s nearest coast in Hainan.

Defending sovereignty

At Malacañang, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella made it clear Duterte has not surrendered the country’s sovereignty over Panatag Shoal or any other area within the country’s EEZ either seized or being coveted by China.

“He has said time and again that he will defend and protect the interests of the Filipino people and will take necessary action at a time most fitting and advantageous to us,” Abella said.

“Furthermore, PRRD has repeatedly asserted that RP is not giving up its claims and our entitlements over the area,” Abella said, referring to Duterte by his presidential initials.

He noted even China has not issued an official stand on reports it was preparing to build a radar station at Panatag Shoal. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), he said, is verifying such reports.

“The DFA is in the process of verifying alleged announcements of proposals to build structures in WPS (West Philippine Sea), since these statements do not reflect the official position of China,” he said.

Duterte earlier declared that the Philippines – with its weak armed forces – cannot stop Beijing from building a radar station at Panatag Shoal.

This prompted Carpio to remind Duterte of his constitutional duty to defend the country from Chinese incursion.

Panatag is part of the national territory, Carpio pointed out, as stipulated under the Philippine Baselines Law.

In his speech in Myanmar Monday, Duterte again ruled out invoking the UN arbitration ruling when dealing with Beijing. But he also vowed to raise the matter if and when China starts extracting mineral resources like oil or uranium in disputed areas.

“Now, if China starts getting oil or uranium or whatever that’s inside the bowels of the sea, I will do something and tell them, ‘We own it. You claim it by historical right, by judgment I won and it’s mine,’” he said.

Duterte also stressed he would not send forces to confront the Chinese in disputed areas to avoid bloodshed.

“First hour, they are finished already. We are not in a position to declare war,” he said.

“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I will have to confront you about the arbitral ruling and that would be maybe, during the time when you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” Duterte added.

Not defenseless

Meanwhile, the lawmaker who filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte has asked the President not to portray the country as defenseless against China’s maritime incursion.

“His statement that we cannot do anything is not true. In fact, we have a lot of non-military and non-confrontational options. He just doesn’t want to do them,” Rep. Gary Alejano of party-list group Magdalo said.

During the campaign, then candidate Duterte said if the Chinese intruded into Panatag, he would rush there in a jet ski to confront the intruders.

Alejano has described as “treason” the President’s admission that he had allowed a Chinese research ship to survey Benham Rise, which is part of the country’s territory.

He said Duterte’s statement on China’s building plan at Panatag Shoal “is a defeatist narrative fitting squarely to what China wants us to feel.”

The lawmaker advised the President to listen to Carpio and revisit various recommendations proposed in the past by national leaders and security officials to address Chinese intrusions into Philippine waters.

“He can consult his national security team and other leaders,” he added.

Alejano lamented the Duterte administration is speaking with discordant voices in dealing with China.

He noted that while Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has denounced the presence of China’s research ship in Benham Rise, the President admitted he had allowed it without informing his defense chief.

Alejano urged the President to send the Coast Guard or even the Navy to patrol the Panatag Shoal area.

“The shoal is located 230 kilometers from Luzon, while it is 2,659 kilometers away from the Chinese mainland. Logistically, the replenishing of supplies such as food and fuel will be a challenge for China, not so for our troops since it is closer to our shores,” he said.

“We can strategically deploy and train our fishermen to utilize the natural resources in the area. We could provide them with study vessels and advanced communication system so that we could aid or defend them should they be threatened by Chinese ships,” he said.

He said Duterte should learn a lesson or two from Vietnam in protecting the country’s interest.

Alejano recalled that in one confrontation with China near the disputed Paracels, Vietnam lost several troops.

The former Marine captain said the country could also invoke its security alliance with the United States, Japan and Australia.

In case of a shooting war, he said he would be “more than willing to fight for our country.”

The military, for its part, said it is ready to deploy a navy ship – recently acquired from the US – to conduct oceanographic survey of Benham Rise.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office chief, said they are just awaiting a written order from Lorenzana or from the President for the deployment of BRP Gregorio Velasquez (AGR-702) to Benham Rise.

“We have one survey vessel and the Philippine Navy has the capability to do maritime research, but so far we don’t have the instructions,” Arevalo said. The other survey vessel acquired from the US was BRP Andres Bonifacio.  – With Christina Mendez, Jaime Laude

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/22/1683442/philippines-prepares-protest-vs-china-over-panatag

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 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Rodrigo Duterte And Kim Jong-un Save Peace In South China Sea, But For How Much Longer?

March 21, 2017

I cover global markets, business and investment strategy

Duterte said. Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s flip-flops and North Korea’s leader Kim Jongun’s missile tests have saved South China Sea peace, for now, as both major players in the disputes China and the US have been softening their tone lately.

That’s good news for investors in the equities of the region, as it lowers geopolitical risks. And that may sound paradoxical to some. How is it that Duterte’s flip-flops and Kim Jong-un’s missile firings can advance peace in South China Sea?

By changing the parameters of the game for China and the US.

ETF/Fund 3-month Performance (%) 12-month Performance (%)
iShares MSCI iShares China  (FXI) 4.58 17.64
VanEck Vectors Vietnam ETF (VNM) 9.34 -2.81
iShares MSCI Philippines (EPHE) -7.28 -5.14
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets 14.08 17.47

Source: Finance.yahoo.com  3/20/2017

Last July Philippines and its close ally, the U.S., won an international arbitration ruling that China has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea. Yet Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte shocked the global community and financial markets by siding with China on the dispute, and seeking a “divorce” from the U.S. Duterte’s flip-flop left the US without a key ally to advance its cause in South China Sea, and therefore, no choice but to soften its tone.

Never mind that China continues its activities around the Scarborough Shoal. “So what do you want me to do? Declare war against China?” Duterte quoted in Chinatopix asking reporters. “I can but we’ll lose all our military and policemen tomorrow, and we are a destroyed nation. And we cannot assert even a single sentence of any provision that we signed.”  

Then came Kim Jongun’s missile tests to change America’s foreign policy priorities placing the Korean Peninsula and the containment of North Korea ahead of South China Sea; and China can make the difference as to whether America achieves this objective. This means that Washington must appease rather than antagonize Beijing at this point.

While Duterte’s flip flops and Kim Jongun’s missile tests have saved peace for the time being, it’s hard to see how they will save peace in the future, as both leaders are unpredictable.  

That’s why investors should constantly keep an eye on the geopolitical risks in the South China Sea region markets.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/03/20/rodrigo-duterte-and-kim-jong-un-save-peace-in-south-china-sea-for-now/#7dce8fbefe32

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Philippines: Supreme Court Judge says the President is constitutionally mandated to defend the national territory — As China lurks in the West Philippine Sea

March 20, 2017
By: – Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 12:20 AM March 21, 2017
Supreme court Snr. Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Supreme court Snr. Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (CDN FILE PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

President Duterte should file a strong protest to block China’s plan to build on Panatag Shoal, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Monday.

Carpio, a member of the legal team that successfully argued the Philippines’ challenge to China’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea before the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague last year, offered an unsolicited advice to Mr. Duterte after the President said he could not stop Beijing from building permanent structures on Panatag Shoal.

Carpio said the President had at least five options in dealing with China’s provocative actions and incursions into Philippine territory in the South China Sea.

As Commander in Chief of the military, the President is constitutionally mandated to defend the national territory, Carpio said.

“Under RA (Republic Act) No. 9522, Scarborough Shoal is part of [the] Philippine national territory,” he said, referring to the law enacted by Congress in 2008 that established the country’s archipelagic baseline.

The same law declared Panatag Shoal and the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the Spratlys group parts of the Philippines’ territory as defined under Article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Panatag Shoal, internationally known as Scarborough Shoal, is a rich fishing ground located 230 kilometers west of the coast of Zambales province, well within the 370-km exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines known as the West Philippine Sea.

Monitoring station

Xiao Jie, the top Communist Party official in Sansha City that has administered China’s South China Sea claims since 2012, was quoted in the official Hainan Daily on Friday as saying that preparations were under way to build an environmental monitoring station on Panatag Shoal.

The preparatory work on the station and others on five other islands in the South China Sea is among the top priorities of China for 2017, Xiao said.

On Sunday, Mr. Duterte said he could not stop China from building on Panatag Shoal because it was too powerful. “We cannot stop China from doing [these] things,” he told a news conference in Davao City before leaving for Burma (Myanmar).

“What do you want me to do, declare war against China? I can’t. We will lose all our military and policemen tomorrow and we [will be] a destroyed nation,” he said.

Strong protest

“Any statement that the Philippines cannot stop China from building on Scarborough Shoal actually encourages China to build on Scarborough Shoal,” Carpio warned.

He said “the least” Mr. Duterte could do was to lodge a “strong formal protest” against Beijing’s planned construction of an environmental monitoring station on Panatag.

He said Vietnam protested after a Chinese-registered private cruise ship set sail for the Paracels, a group of islands claimed by Hanoi that China, Vietnam and Taiwan also claim as their own.

Carpio said Mr. Duterte could also deploy a Philippine Navy ship to patrol Panatag Shoal and solicit the help of the United States, the Philippines’ oldest military ally, to generate military muscle.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” Carpio said.

Regarded as the “mother” of all military deals between the two countries, the August 1951 agreement stipulates that “an armed attack on either of the parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.”

Carpio said the Philippines may follow the lead of Japan and ask the United States to recognize Panatag Shoal as “part of Philippine territory for purposes” of invoking the MDT.

He pointed out that Tokyo had asked the United States to declare the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea “as part of Japanese territory for purposes of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty.”

“[Panatag Shoal] has been part of Philippine territory even during the American colonial period,” Carpio said.

Mr. Duterte, he said, may opt to consider the Americans’ invitation for the United States and the Philippines to conduct joint naval patrols in the South China Sea.

“This will demonstrate joint Philippine and US determination to prevent China from building on Scarborough Shoal,” Carpio said.

Carpio said Mr. Duterte should “avoid any act, statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.”

“This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

Mr. Duterte, however, is unlikely to take the US option, having adopted an “independent foreign policy” to steer the Philippines away from US influence and called then US President Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” for criticizing his brutal war on drugs.

He has also scaled back military cooperation between the Philippines and the United States and threatened to scrap the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that allows US forces increased access to Philippine military bases.

Carpio had earlier warned that China’s reported construction project on Panatag Shoal was a prelude to its plan to limit air travel in the region by declaring an air defense identification zone.

“These developments call for a national debate, and consensus, on how the nation should proceed with its bilateral relations with China,” he said.

The Hague ruling

China seized Panatag Shoal after a two-month standoff with Philippine vessels in 2012, but The Hague court declared in July last year that China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea had no legal basis and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereignty and right to explore for resources in waters within its EEZ.

China rejected the ruling, insisting that it had “undisputed sovereignty” over the South China Sea but offered to settle rival claims through bilateral negotiations.

Besides China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan claim parts of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in global trade passes every year and where islets, reefs and atolls are believed to be sitting atop vast energy reserves.

Mr. Duterte, a self-styled socialist, upended Philippine foreign policy after winning presidential election last year by deferring assertion of The Hague ruling and making friendly overtures to China and Russia and distancing himself from the United States. —WITH REPORTS FROM AFP AND AP

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/153618/carpio-tells-duterte-defend-ph-shoal#ixzz4btny8fRt
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Philippines: President Duterte Foes Amend Impeachment Complaint, Call Duterte Stance on China ‘Dereliction of Duty’

March 20, 2017
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday. Philstar.com/File photo
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MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that his group is considering  filing a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly being subservient to China.
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Alejano’s statement came after Duterte claimed last week that he allowed China to send survey ships to Benham Rise as part of an agreement.
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The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
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In an interview on CNN’s ‘The Source,’ Alejano said that the president’s action is a matter of national security since there is a conflict of interest with China on the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims.
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“We’re talking about national interest here, we’re talking about national security here because we have a clear conflict of interest in West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
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China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
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An international tribunal however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China, saying that China’s “nine-dash line” claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has no basis.
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In a speech on Sunday, Duterte also said that he cannot stop China from setting up a reported monitoring station in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc.
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“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
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Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
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Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
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“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
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He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
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 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

Philippine President Duterte Seeking Allies For At Sea Code of Conduct

March 20, 2017
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Duterte is welcomed by his Myanmar counterpart U Htin Kyaw at the Presidential Palace in the capital Naypyitaw yesterday. Duterte flew to Bangkok, Thailand last night. AP

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to avoid tension in disputed areas in the South China Sea, President Duterte called for support for the approval of a Code of Conduct (COC) among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It’s very important for China and the rest of the nations, especially the ASEAN, to come up with a Code of Conduct,” Duterte said in a press briefing in Myanmar on Sunday night.

The President also pitched for the COC while he was in Myanmar, which was part of the last leg of his introductory tour of Southeast Asia in the run-up to the ASEAN summit this November in Manila.

The Declaration on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed by all members of ASEAN and China on Nov. 4, 2002. It lists the principles of self-restraint and non-militarization.

Duterte said he would invoke the arbitral ruling favoring Philippine claims if China starts gathering mineral resources from the disputed areas.

“Kung ang China kukuha na sila ng mga oil o uranium (If China starts getting oil or uranium) or whatever that’s inside the bowels of the sea, kalabitin ko sila (I will do something). Ako man rin ang may-ari niyan (We own it). You claim it by historical right, but by judgment I won and it’s mine,” he said.

But Duterte again admitted that the Philippines cannot stop China from building a radar station at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal because the Philippine military is no match for Chinese armed forces. And he cannot allow Filipino soldiers to go to disputed areas to avoid casualties.

“First hour pa lang ubos na ‘yun (they are finished already). We are not in a position to declare war,” he said.

“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I will have to confront you about the arbitral ruling and that would be maybe, during the time when you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” he added.

Duterte also claimed that the United States is also “scared” of China.

“Hindi nga natin mapigilan kasi hindi natin kaya ang China. Hindi nga mapigilan ng Amerikano. In the first place, sa umpisa pa lang niyan, hindi na pumunta ang Amerikano, natakot na (We cannot stop China. Even the Americans cannot stop it. In the first place, from the start America did not respond, they got scared right away),” he said.

He noted that what the Philippines has right now are only entitlements.

“Just entitlement, not territory. I said repeatedly it is not within our territorial waters. But what we are trying to achieve is that we are also recognized to own the entitlements,” he said.

“The structures have nothing to do with the economic zone. It might impede but actually it’s a construction that would disturb the navigation of the sea,” he added.

Despite China’s excessive claims, Duterte said he is working to further bolster economic and trade ties between Manila and Beijing.

Defend Panatag

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded Duterte that he has the constitutional duty to defend Panatag Shoal from Chinese incursion.

Carpio also formulated a five-point strategy on how the Duterte administration can respond to China’s reported plan to install a radar station in the disputed shoal.

The magistrate explained that Panatag is part of the national territory under Republic Act No. 9522 or Philippine Baselines Law and should be defended to “preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea.”

But he stressed that since the Philippines cannot match the military power of China, Duterte may opt for other actions to defend the country’s sovereignty over the shoal and fulfill his duty as president.

First, Carpio suggested that the government should file a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

“This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels,” he added.

The PCA ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries and nullified China’s nine-dash line claim over South China Sea. The justice said the government could also send the Philippine Navy to patrol the shoal.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” he suggested.

Related:

 

Philippines: Supreme Court Associate Justice reminds President Rodrigo Duterte to avoid waiving Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory

March 20, 2017
By: – Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 12:51 PM March 20, 2017
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Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
A Filipino fishing vessel ventures into the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. —REM ZAMORA

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded President Rodrigo Duterte to avoid any statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.

“This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their natural patrimony in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio said.

Carpio’s statement came after Duterte said he cannot stop China from implementing its plan to build structures on the disputed Panatag Shoal for now.

In 2012, China seized Panatag Shoal or the Scarborough Shoal after a tense standoff between Chinese and Filipino vessels. China denied Filipino fishermen access to Scarborough’s rich fish stock.

Filipinos have been able to go back to Scarborough after Duterte reached out to Beijing and restored good diplomatic ties, which were damaged when President Benigno Aquino III tried to forcefully enforce Philippine authority on the shoal.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries.

Duterte said if the US was not able to stop China, what could the Philippines do?

Carpio said Duterte was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces which is tasked by the Constitution to defend the country’s territory.

He pointed out that under Republic Act 9522 or the Philippines’ Baseline Law, Scarborough Shoal is part of the Philippine territory.

Carpio said since the Philippines was no match to China militarily, the President could fulfill his constitutional duty by doing any, some or all of the following:

  • File a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity.

“This is the least that the President should do,” Carpio said.

Carpio said that is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels.

  • Send the Philippine Navy to patrol Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio said if the Chinese attack the Philippine navy vessels, the country can invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea.

  • Ask the United States to declare that Scarborough Shoal is part of Philippine territory for purposes of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty since the shoal has been part of  Philippine territory even during the American colonial period.

The high court’s Senior magistrate and an expert in the maritime dispute with China said “the US has declared the Senkakus as part of Japanese territory for purposes of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty.”

  • Accept the standing US offer to hold joint naval patrols in the South China Sea, which includes Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio said “this will demonstrate joint Philippine and US demonstration to prevent China from building on Scarborough Shoal.”

Aquino earlier tried to use the Navy to assert the rights of the Philippines over Scarborough, but China responded by sending more of its ships to the shoal.

China also began building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, which is reportedly already being militarized by Beijing.

The US has conducted patrols and freedom of navigation exercises in the West Philippine Sea but has not stopped China from reportedly arming its artificial islands. CBB/rga

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/882226/carpio-cautions-duterte-on-statements-about-west-philippine-sea#ixzz4bqE16wZP
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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

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South China Sea: Philippines’ strongest warning yet to China

August 26, 2016

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Gavin Fernando
news.com.au

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has issued his strongest statement yet against the Chinese government.

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Amid rising tensions over the disputed South China Sea, Mr Duterte warned of a “bloody” confrontation if China crosses into the Philippines’ Economic Exclusive Zone.

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“We do not want a quarrel,” he told soldiers at an army camp east of Manila. “I would walk the extra mile to ask for peace for everybody.

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“But I am sure and I guarantee to them that if they invade us, it will be bloody and we will not give it to them easily. It will be the bones of our soldiers, you can include mine.

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“We will not raise hell now because of the judgement but there will come a time that we will have to do some reckoning about this.”

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Rodrigo Duterte has issued his strongest warning yet.
Rodrigo Duterte has issued his strongest warning yet.Source:AP

His more aggressive stance is at odds with statements he made earlier this week, in which he said he prefers to engage China in a diplomatic dialogue rather than say anything confrontational that could anger Chinese officials into calling off possible talks.

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Asked if a date had been set for the bilateral talks, Mr Duterte said, “Yes. Nearer than you think. Within the year, maybe.”

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An international arbitration tribunal ruled last month that China’s massive territorial claims in the South China Sea based on historical grounds were invalid under a 1982 UN treaty, in a major setback for Beijing, which has ignored the decision.

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Aside from China and the Philippines, four other governments are contesting ownership of parts of the South China Sea, a busy passageway for shipping. The region is also believed to sit atop sizeable deposits of gas and oil worth trillions.

http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/philippines-strongest-warning-yet-to-china/news-story/2819d0e2a1fea9ce3cb9e09acc3491ca

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 (The New York Times, July 12, 2016)

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In this photo released by the Office of the City Mayor of Davao City, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao City in the southern Philippines, Monday, May 16, 2016. Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP, file
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PLAN Guided Missile Destroyer Harbin DDG-112 firing her main guns during exercises with Russia

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A Chinese HQ-9 Air Defense System like this one was deployed to Woody Island after Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry he would refrain from “militarizing” the South China Sea.

Chinese J-11 fighters have practiced deployments to the China-claimed articial islands in the South China Sea

More than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through the South China Sea.  Almost all of Japan’s oil comes through the Indian Ocean and  South China Sea.

Vietnamese fishing boat Dna 90152 sinking in the South China Sea May 2014 after being rammed intentionally by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel

Viet Nam Fisherman Bui Tan Doan suffered a broken leg June 7 2015 when a Chinese ship landed armed men on his fishing boat to intemidate the Vietnamese sailors into leaving their traditional South China Sea fishing grounds

China’s neighbors have complained about the steady rise of illegal fishing and poaching by Chinese boats. Chinese fishing boats have been detained by the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa and by nations in South America. Some environmentalists say China has over-fished its home waters and must expand through the globe to feed its vast population.

China super dredger Tian Jing Hao — called “The Reef Eater.” China has used dozens of dredges like this to destroy coral reefs in order to build up sandy shoals into islands by reclamation. China has “made its own islands” in the processes — in areas previously claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and others. Now China has built airfields and military bases on these “artificial islands.”

 

Philippines President Duterte: ‘I’d like to beat up whoever grabbed Scarborough’ — Plus some ideas on how to make progress with the U.S. and China

August 25, 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the troops during his visit to the Philippine Army’s Camp Mateo Capinpin at Tanay township, Rizal province east of Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – He won’t pick a fight with China, but he would happily beat up the one who seized Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal if given the chance, President Duterte said yesterday.

Addressing soldiers at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Duterte said that while he would not insist on making China follow the ruling of the UN-backed arbitral court in The Hague favoring the Philippine position on the West Philippine Sea, he made clear it would be bloody if the Chinese make further attempts to trample on Philippine sovereignty.

“Yung kumuha ng Scarborough yun ang gusto ko upakan (Whoever seized Scarborough Shoal, that’s the one I want to punch),” Duterte said.

“We will not raise hell now because of the judgment but there will come a time that we have to do some reckoning about this,” he said.

He called on Beijing to show good faith and to foster good relations with the Philippines.

“I hope China is dealing with us in good faith. They seem to be conciliatory. We’re not insisting on arbitral judgment, I know they’re listening to us now, they can monitor us through satellite,” he said.

 

“But they better come up with what they really want. Because whether we like it or not, that arbitral judgment would be insisted, not only by the Philippines but the whole countries here in Southeast Asia,” he said.

He stressed China would pay a high price if it dares to attack the Philippines.

“I am sure, I guarantee them, kung kayo pumasok dito (if you come here)…it will be bloody. And we will not give it to them easily. It will be the bones of our soldiers pati na sa akin isali niyo (include even mine),” he said.

“We’ll not allow any country to bamboozle (us). We’ll not allow it,” Duterte added.

He noted that other claimant countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei might also use the UN ruling to further assert their rights in areas where they have conflict with China.

Even the United States, which is an ally, would definitely prod the Philippines to use the UN ruling to assert the country’s position, the President added.

“But we will chart our own course in the national interest of this country,” he said.

In this photo taken March 29, 2014, a Philippine flag flutters from the deck of the Philippine Navy ship LT 57 Sierra Madre off Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. China has intensified the drumbeat of its opposition international arbitration. Now China must decide if it will follow international law or not. .AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

Duterte’s challenge to Beijing came as the latter was offering to help the country rehabilitate military camps and boost the weapons capability of the Philippine National Police.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has been invited to China, the President noted.

“The problem is what about us? What about the issue between us? We will not raise hell now because of the judgment but there will come a time that we have to do some reckoning about this,” he said. He said his administration is committed to modernizing the armed forces.

“We just have to spruce up your arms and your training and everything. We’ll take in more men so we can defend our motherland. We do not want a quarrel. I would walk the extra mile to ask for peace for everybody,” he added.

No rebalance of ties

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China has not caused Manila to rebalance diplomatic ties with either its ally the United States or neighboring China.

“We want to make close friendship with China. It does not mean that we’ll weaken our friendship with the United States,” Yasay told Reuters during a break in a meeting of the senate foreign relations committee.

“We’re just saying that in spite of our disputes, as regards China on the South China Sea, there are other aspects of our relationship that can proceed without having to touch upon the South China Sea issue.”

On Tuesday evening, President Duterte said he expects talks with China over the maritime dispute within a year.

Duterte, who has been in office for seven weeks, said the Philippines will not raise the issues next month at a summit in Laos of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which the Chinese foreign ministry welcomed. “We look forward to China and the Philippines conducting dialogue at an early date,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said yesterday.

“We believe the two sides have the ability and the wisdom to appropriately discuss and resolve problems, promote the return of relations to a track of healthy development, and bring benefits to both countries’ people,” he said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea through which about $5 trillion worth of sea-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the sea believed to be rich in oil and gas.

China has made seven artificial islands in the disputed waters, three of them have airfields that can accommodate fighters, bombers and tankers to refuel aircraft.

At the senate hearing, Yasay said the United States will not allow China to reclaim Panatag Shoal.

In 2012, China seized Panatag Shoal after a standoff with the Philippines Navy.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/08/25/1617050/id-beat-whoever-grabbed-scarborough

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Opinion from Peace and Freedom

Mr. Duterte’s tough talk will get him nowhere with China or the U.S.

The Philippines needs to re-start the diplomatic campaign waged so effectively by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario while he was in office. Thanks to Mr Del Rosario, Mr Duterte and Mr Yasay have a finding from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague saying China’s South China Sea claims are mostly worthless. Here are a few things Mr. Duterte and Yasay need to go to work on:

  1. Stop referring to the Ambassador from the United States as a “gay son of a bitch.” One might just guess that Mr. Duterte will need the help of the United Sates at some point and it could be wise to patch up the Philippine-U.S. relationship starting with an apology to Ambassador Goldberg. After that, the Philippine leadership needs to make friends of the appropriate allies in the international community that can be helpful to the Philippines.
  2. The Philippines needs to get to work on establishing allies in ASEAN especially. As long as ASEAN remains divided, the nations lose clout with China because they are not speaking with one voice. It may not be possible to unite ASEAN because China likes to keep funding its pals like Laos — but Mr. Duterte and Yasay should give it a try anyway.
  3. It might be a good idea to neither encourage or discourage China until the Philippines has established its clear goals in the South China Sea. After the ruling by The Hague Arbitration Court, China has pretended as if international law and opinion do not matter. China is in the wrong here and it will take a united front of nations to get China to back away from their unlawful perch at present…

Related: (Articles at the top start with reports of The Hague ruling.  Articles at the bottom of this article are the most recent).

 (The New York Times, July 12, 2016)

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In this photo released by the Office of the City Mayor of Davao City, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao City in the southern Philippines, Monday, May 16, 2016. Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP, file
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PLAN Guided Missile Destroyer Harbin DDG-112 firing her main guns during exercises with Russia

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A Chinese HQ-9 Air Defense System like this one was deployed to Woody Island after Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry he would refrain from “militarizing” the South China Sea.

Chinese J-11 fighters have practiced deployments to the China-claimed articial islands in the South China Sea

More than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through the South China Sea.  Almost all of Japan’s oil comes through the Indian Ocean and  South China Sea.

Vietnamese fishing boat Dna 90152 sinking in the South China Sea May 2014 after being rammed intentionally by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel

Viet Nam Fisherman Bui Tan Doan suffered a broken leg June 7 2015 when a Chinese ship landed armed men on his fishing boat to intemidate the Vietnamese sailors into leaving their traditional South China Sea fishing grounds

China’s neighbors have complained about the steady rise of illegal fishing and poaching by Chinese boats. Chinese fishing boats have been detained by the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa and by nations in South America. Some environmentalists say China has over-fished its home waters and must expand through the globe to feed its vast population.

China super dredger Tian Jing Hao — called “The Reef Eater.” China has used dozens of dredges like this to destroy coral reefs in order to build up sandy shoals into islands by reclamation. China has “made its own islands” in the processes — in areas previously claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and others. Now China has built airfields and military bases on these “artificial islands.”

Reef debris after destruction by a Chinese super dredge

China-Philippines fishing deal for Scarborough Shoal ‘may help calm troubled South China Sea waters’ — But China has no claim at all, according to the International Court

August 12, 2016

Joint fishing rights in Scarborough Shoal could help ease tensions between Beijing and Manila, think tank chief says after talks with Fidel Ramos

By Kristin Huang  and Catherine Wong
South China Morning Post

Friday, August 12, 2016, 11:40pm
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Beijing and Manila could explore ways to open the Scarborough Shoal to fishermen from both countries and jointly develop fish farms in the disputed waters, ­according to the head of a ­government-affiliated think tank after talks with former Philippine president Fidel Ramos.

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said Ramos’ five-day fence-mending trip to Hong Kong could help lower tensions raised by the South China Sea disputes.

Related:

But Ramos would have to first visit Beijing for talks with Chinese officials to pave the way for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to make a formal state visit to China, he said.

In Hong Kong as a Duterte envoy, Ramos discussed six areas for cooperation with Wu and Fu Ying, chairwoman of the National People’s Congress’ foreign affairs committee.

Ties between the two nations have been strained since the Philippines applied for a ruling on the South China Sea from the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which dismissed Beijing’s claims to the disputed waters. Filipino fishermen have also complained of harassment by Chinese government vessels in the Scarborough Shoal.

There are various cooperation plans the two countries can discuss
WU SHICUN, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SOUTH CHINA SEA STUDIES

Wu said Filipino and Chinese fishermen both needed to fish.

“There are various cooperation plans the two countries can discuss. Fish-farming technology is not advanced in the Philippines and China can help with that,” he said.

But the Philippines had to respect China’s territorial rights over the shoal, Wu said.

Ramos stressed that his meetings with Fu and Wu were held “in a private capacity”, but said his country’s government wanted formal talks to avoid further tensions with China and to explore ways of increasing cooperation between the two nations.

 Fidel Ramos (seated, centre) has dinner in with Fu Ying (third from left) and Wu Shicun (second from right). Photo: SCMP PIctures

Discussions on resolving the territorial disputes would be held, but “as to where this will take place we don’t know yet. We have to go back to Manila to find out the latest developments on the official side”, he said.

A statement signed by Ramos, Fu and Wu said that in addition to marine conservation and fishing rights, the two nations should cooperate on tourism, investment, and cracking down on drugs and corruption.

Efforts on issues such as drugs, smuggling and crime are not as tricky as defence and national security and thus more achievable at this point
DAI FAN, JINAN UNIVERSITY’S INSTITUTE OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES

Analysts said the consensus reached between Ramos and Fu was crucial to rebuilding confidence between the two countries.

“Efforts on issues such as drugs, smuggling and crime are not as tricky as defence and national security and thus more achievable at this point,” said Dai Fan,,an assistant professor at Jinan University’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

De La Salle University assistant professor Richard Javad Heydarian said Ramos’ trip restored a functional level of communication between the two countries.

The visit made room to discuss less politicised areas for cooperation, paving the way for more high-stakes talks between Beijing and Manila, he said.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2003044/china-philippines-fishing-deal-may-help-calm-troubled

Related:

 (July 27, 2016 — Philippine Star)

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China H-6 bomber Scarborough Shoal in the Philippines.
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Philippines President – Elect Rodrigo Duterte Hints At More China Leaning Policy — But China’s idea of friendship is often not consistent with sovereignty of the Philippine, other Asian neighbors

May 18, 2016

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Filipinos elect a self-styled strongman who slams the U.S. and praises China.

Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, Philippines, on May 7.
Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, Philippines, on May 7. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

By DAVID FEITH
The Wall Street Journal
May 17, 2016 1:10 p.m. ET
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Fed up with elites, voters flock to a populist outsider with an admired but checkered past, a macho persona and a record of insulting women, foreigners and the pope. He distrusts allies and promises to cut deals with adversaries. Is he destined to be a destabilizing leader? Or would responsibility moderate him?

U.S. allies mull these questions as they watch Donald Trump, but now Americans are asking similar questions about an important ally: the Philippines, which last week elected tough-talking city mayor Rodrigo Duterte to a six-year term as president. Philippine cooperation is crucial to checking aggressive Chinese action in the South China Sea, but Mr. Duterte seems to want to accommodate Beijing.

In 2013 the Philippines went to a United Nations court to challenge China’s notorious claim to nearly the entire South China Sea, an area larger than the Mediterranean that stretches 1,000 miles from Chinese shores. China reacted furiously, yet Manila wouldn’t drop its case. The verdict is now due within weeks and is expected to rebuke Beijing.

Which makes Mr. Duterte’s views on the subject curious. “I have a similar position as China’s,” he said in March. “I don’t believe in solving the conflict through an international tribunal. China has said it will not abide by whatever the tribunal’s decision will be.” His campaign soon walked this back, but it was telling.

This is where Mr. Duterte’s famous personality may come in. As mayor of the formerly crime-ridden city of Davao, he earned the nickname “Dirty Harry” for backing vigilante hit squads. His law-and-order message is popular, but the emphasis is more on order than law. It seems consistent, then, that he rejects the current administration’s faith that international law can be a “great equalizer,” or at least a good asymmetrical defense, against China.
Mr. Duterte puts his faith in the art of the deal. “Build us a railway just like the one you built in Africa and let’s set aside disagreements for a while,” he said of China during the campaign. He sometimes talks tough, as in promising to take a jet ski and plant a flag on a disputed island, but mainly he declares openness to bilateral talks and joint resource development with Beijing. That would break from current policy—and echo past failures.

In 2004, Manila and its neighbors were negotiating with China as a bloc, preventing it from using bilateral talks to divide and conquer. Then President Gloria Arroyo struck a secret deal with Beijing for joint oil exploration in Philippine waters, including areas Beijing hadn’t even claimed. The deal eventually fizzled as Ms. Arroyo faced allegations of corruption, including kickbacks from Chinese firms, for which she was later arrested. But it paralyzed regional diplomacy for years, to Beijing’s benefit.

Benigno Aquino took office in 2010 stressing bilateral cooperation, much like Mr. Duterte today. He pulled Manila’s envoy from the Nobel Prize ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, among other gestures. Yet Chinese vessels soon drove a Philippine survey ship from Reed Bank, well within Manila’s waters, then in 2012 occupied Scarborough Shoal.

Mr. Duterte could review this history with Albert Del Rosario, Manila’s top diplomat from 2010 until this year. As Mr. Del Rosario told me last year, the Aquino government initially had a written understanding with Beijing that maritime disputes aren’t “the sum total of our relationship,” so they’d advance bilateral ties “while abstracting the difficult challenges and working on that separately.” But after Xi Jinping came to power in late 2012, Chinese leaders told Manila, “This is a different government.”

And so it was. “At this point, we cannot stand alone,” Manila’s defense secretary said in 2013 as he sought more military assistance from the U.S., Japan and others. “We need to form alliances. If we don’t, bigger forces will bully us, and that is happening now.” A 2014 agreement invited U.S. troops and weapons to Philippine bases, a dramatic reversal from Manila’s 1991 closure of all U.S. bases.

But now it’s Manila’s turn to have a different government. Though Mr. Duterte backs the new U.S. basing agreement, he has also denounced the U.S. presence in Mindanao, his home region, where al Qaeda-linked terrorists have long operated.

Last year he said he feels “hatred” for the U.S. over a mysterious 2002 bomb explosion in a Davao hotel for which he blames the FBI. He has denied U.S. drones access to Davao for counterterror operations and in 2006 refused to take the job of Philippine defense minister because of concerns about working with Washington.

Then there’s the South China Sea. “America would never die for us,” he told a group of foreign military attaches last year. “If America cared, it would have sent its aircraft carriers and missile frigates the moment China started reclaiming land in contested territory, but no such thing happened.”

“America is afraid to go to war,” he said weeks later. “We’re better off making friends with China.”

Recent years suggest that China’s idea of friendship isn’t consistent with Philippine sovereignty or freedom of the seas. These are big reasons why the Filipino public is so down on China and keen on the U.S. But Mr. Duterte, apparently, still needs convincing.

Mr. Feith is a Journal editorial writer based in Hong Kong.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-political-risk-in-the-south-china-sea-1463505005

Related:

 (Links to several related articles)