The South China Morning Post wrote that it is obvious that the Philippine president is playing a double game over the South China Sea issues. A more plausible hypothesis, however, is that the Philippine foreign policy is the product of constant bargaining and contestation between an unconventional yet popular president and a very predictable but powerful defense establishment.
Youtube video by; Youtupe Mania
[VIDEO]: President Duterte Welcome China Ships Nears Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea.
Interpreting the President
It pays to confuse the enemy, they say but not at all times. In the case of President Du30’s declarations on China issues, the confusion that he creates does not work on the Chinese. By now, they know exactly how strategic his mind is. When they confused by his declarations, they just wait for the announcement from the chamber in Malacañang. They take the clarifications of presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella as interpretations of the President’s remarks.
Benham Rise Confusion
Defence Secretary Lorenzana suggests that Chinese vessels seemed to engage in illegal oceanographic research within areas that fall under the Philippines’ exclusive jurisdiction. PDu30 quickly tried to downplay the situation by saying that he gave China the permission to conduct marine scientific research along Benham Rise. Both defense and foreign affairs secretaries rebuked the president’s statement by declaring that they have no knowledge of such claimed arrangement which is unconstitutional if true.
No War over Scarborough Shoal
The President also blurts out that he won’t to war over Beijing’s plan to put up structures on Scarborough shoal. He did not confuse the Chinese but his own people because what the Filipinos expect was not war but vigorous protests over their rights. Lately, the president vows to battle China if they start to extract mineral resources such as oil and uranium in disputed areas. He stands on the court’s judgment that the Philippines owns it.
Words from the SC and DOJ on the South China Sea
Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio calls to double down on defense ties with America. H suggests a vigorous diplomatic response to China. Du30 dismisses any suggestion of pushback. He argues that the Philippines “cannot stop China with their activities. He contradicts his own defense minister and states that; “Americans are not able to stop them anyway.” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre enters the picture and says that the government protests by way of a legal action in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. It’s the same international court which rules that Beijing’s the South China Sea claims are illegal. Who is he trying to confuse?