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Philippines Draws A Line on South China Sea

Manila is taking a tough stand on the South China Sea again, Reuters reports:

China will be the ‘loser’ if it does not recognize an international court ruling against its territorial claims in the South China Sea, Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said on Tuesday.

An arbitration court in The Hague infuriated China in July when it ruled that China had no historical title over the South China Sea and it had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights.

China has ignored the ruling that none of its claims in the disputed Spratly Islands entitled it to a 200-mile (320 km) exclusive economic zone. Its construction work on reefs there has alarmed other claimants, as well the United States and Japan.

“We are trying to make China understand especially when the dust settles that unless they respect and recognize the arbitral tribunal, they will be the losers at the end of that day on this matter,” Yasay told a congressional hearing.

Prior to starting bilateral talks, the Philippines plans to seal a deal for China to allow Philippine fishermen to access the resource-rich waters, Yasay said.

We’ve been wondering what Manila’s bottom line would be. This seems to clear things up.

Reuters says the Philippines still expects to hold talks with China in the next year, but if Manila insists the Hague ruling be the basis for a conversation, it would be difficult to see China agreeing to meet at all.

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  • Dhako

    This is a public relation exercise and a bit of political grandstanding for the camera and before the congress, but nothing else. Further, the Philippines are desperate to resume normal service with China now that they can see the US’s pivot didn’t stopped China contemptuously dismissing the tribunal findings (as it had telegraphed that it will do so, long before the Hague farce hit the world’s headlines). Hence the reason President Duterte quietly send former President Ramos to the work the Chinese side with a finesse and guile on his part without the boisterous Philippines democracy getting in the way or complicating any concession he will likely have to make to China, just so that, this thing could be put to bed by both parties.

    Subsequently, till the deal is cooked (by Ramos and others) I expect, the current foreign minister of the Philippines to play tough (or at least sound tough) before the cameras, while all along knowing full well the Philippines will drop this farce of a tribunal finding if and when the Chinese side say so much of a soothing words of how brotherly understanding could resolve this thing.

    And that would be the case, provided Philippines do not do any more of a naughty stuff, such as the idea of trying to gang up against China with the help of Uncle Sam and Shinzo Abe of Japan. And once Duterte make a public disavowal of his predecessor bone-headed diplomacy in this isue, then a suitable way will be found in Beijing for the return of Philippines fishermen to earn their daily bread in the South China Sea (SCS) without at the same time never allowing the Philippines to develop any delusion as to “real” the owners of this particular sea.

    • Blackbeard

      I had read that China had a corps of salaried Internet trolls but I’ve ever encountered one before. How well does this work pay? Are they hiring?

      • Andrew Allison

        This one’s been hanging around here for a while.

      • Jim__L

        Better than being a gold farmer on World of Warcraft, I suspect. Although I suppose one could multitask the two and double-bill. =)

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