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China to Philippines: You Weren't Invited Anyway

philippine-navyPresident Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines said today that he would not visit China for a trade fair next week after being told by Beijing that he should visit at a more convenient time. China then told the Associated Press it had never invited him in the first place.

The snub, whether the result of a bureaucratic snafu or a deliberate diplomatic slap in the face, is the latest incident to worsen relations between China and the Philippines. The Philippines is the “country of honor” at this year’s China-ASEAN Expo, and the president of the honored country typically makes a speech at the opening ceremony, as Thein Sein did last year when it was Burma’s turn.

The Philippines has been one of the most combative countries in Southeast Asia in diplomatic and territorial disputes with China. A number of countries, including Vietnam and Malaysia, dispute China’s claim on the entire South China Sea, but the Philippines has not only confronted Chinese ships at sea but also welcomed an increased American military presence on its soil. Even worse news, from Beijing’s perspective, are the signs that the Philippines and Japan, with whom China is engaged in a different territorial dispute, are cooperating on naval defense affairs to combat Chinese “bullying.”

Clearly China is not softening its stance on the South China Sea disputes, and the Philippines, for its part, will is probably even less likely to back down after this snub.

[Image of Philippine Navy ship courtesy Getty]

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Chinese belligerence, and unjust territorial ambitions, are the gift that keeps on giving. It’s unfortunate for America, that the incompetent Obama administration isn’t using this fact, to organize a nice tight economic and military alliance with all the objects of Chinese aggression.

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