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CHINA BLASTS 'UNILATERAL' PHILIPPINE MOVE AHEAD OF RULING


JUNE 8 -In this Jan. 6, 2016 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a China Southern Airlines jetliner lands at the airfield on Fiery Cross Reef, known as Yongshu Reef in Chinese, in the Spratly Islands, known as Nansha Islands in Chinese, of the South China Sea. Tensions in the South China Sea are rising, pitting China against smaller and weaker neighbors that all lay claim to islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters rich in fish and potential gas and oil reserves. China�s recent construction of artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago, complete with airstrips and radar stations, and U.S. patrols challenging Beijing�s vast territorial claims, have caused concern that the strategically important waters could become a flashpoint. (Cha Chunming/Xinhua via AP, File)
BEIJING - China accused the Philippines Wednesday of ignoring requests for dialogue about their maritime dispute, as tensions rise before an international tribunal’s ruling on the territorial row. The Philippines has “unilaterally closed the door of settling the South China Sea issue with China through negotiation,” China’s foreign ministry said in a lengthy statement published by the official Xinhua news agency. The statement came a day after the end of an annual meeting between the US and China in Beijing, at which the two countries failed to make progress on the issue. China asserts ownership over nearly all of the sea despite competing claims by several of its Southeast Asian neighbours, and has rapidly built artificial islands suitable for military use. Manila accuses China of effectively taking control of Scarborough Shoal, one of the contested areas, in 2012 and has brought a case against Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. China has shunned the proceedings and said it will not recognise any ruling. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte tells incoming Solicitor General to do his best: Incoming SolGen ‘very hopeful’ PH will win case vs China


JUNE 4 -Incoming SolGen 'very hopeful' PH will win arbitration case vs China | Inquirer Global Nation
DAVAO CITY — Incoming Solicitor General Jose Calida on Saturday said he is “very hopeful” that the Philippines will win its arbitration case against China on the disputed West Philippine Sea.“We are very hopeful that we will win this case,” Calida told reporters at Royal Mandaya Hotel.The former Justice undersecretary said he recently met with incumbent Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who briefed him and incoming foreign affairs secretary Jun Yasay on the case.READ: Duterte names members of Cabinet “During that meeting we only discussed the West Philippine Sea dispute with China, he said. “It’s really a complicated issue but according to the solicitor general now, around 70 to 80 percent we will win this case,” Calida said. Asked what will happen if the country wins the case with the international tribunal, Calida said, “Well we will cross the bridge when we get there. We will wait for the decision then we will make our move.” READ MORE...

ALSO: China wants PH to drop UN suit and return to bilateral negotiation
[RELATED: Will Duterte go soft on China?]


JUNE 9 -Faced with a setback in a United Nations arbitral court, China on Wednesday urged the Philippines to drop its legal tack and return to bilateral negotiation to settle their territorial dispute in the South China Sea.China did not say, however, whether it would stop building artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago or whether it would withdraw from Panatag Shoal, which it seized from the Philippines in 2012 after a two-month standoff with the Philippine Navy, to encourage negotiations.It was China’s seizure of Panatag Shoal, internationally known as Scarborough Shoal, that forced the Philippines to challenge China’s claim to almost all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea in the UN arbitration court in 2013.
The Philippines asked the court to invalidate China’s sweeping claims and declare its right to exploit resources in waters within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) be honored. Ruling coming soon China has refused to take part in the proceedings, but the court has heard the case and is expected to hand down a ruling in the coming weeks. Expecting the ruling to go against it, China on Wednesday accused the Philippines of ignoring requests for dialogue about their dispute.“China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement posted on his ministry’s website. READ MORE...RELATED, Will Duterte go soft on China?...

ALSO: Rodrigo Duterte, Poised to Lead Philippines, Is Expected to Take New Approach to China


LAST MAY 11, NY TIMES HEADLINE REPORT -The Filipino presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte is no stranger to controversy. MANILA — Rodrigo Duterte, poised to be the Philippines’ next president, has signaled that he will try a new approach toward China by emphasizing economic ties. During the campaign, he talked tough about China’s activities in the South China Sea, saying he would ride a Jet Ski to the contested Spratly Islands and plant the Philippine flag there. Yet he also said he would seek Beijing’s help in building a rail line that would link Manila to the southern island of Mindanao, where he served as mayor of Davao City for nearly two decades. He even proclaimed he would “shut up” about the South China Sea if China built the railway. “Development rather than deterrence — that is going to be doctrine on the South China Sea,” said Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila. “The Jet Ski, planting the flag, that is Duterte the entertainer. But you will see the contemplative president developing foreign policy.” Though the bombastic Mr. Duterte has yet to assume the role, some analysts say his unpredictability will help him negotiate with foreign powers. At the same time, they expect him to maintain a close relationship with the United States, which has strong military ties with the Philippines. READ MORE...

ALSO: COMMENTARY - China descending
[China is expected to defiantly and totally ignore the forthcoming ruling of the UN arbitral tribunal that is expected to favor the Philippines’ position that it alone enjoys the “sovereign right” to develop all waters, islets, atolls, and islands within its EEZ. As China weakens, its very vulnerability may paradoxically make it more dangerous to regional peace. During testy times, it is far better to have a stable, confident China than one with frustrating domestic problems and unsteady fingers on missile buttons.]


JUNE 12 -China’s paramount leader, President Xi Jinping What a difference a few years make: In 2005 China was a fast-rising economic superstar, the world’s unstoppable manufacturing locomotive, pulling along many major and emergent economies toward predictable growth and impressive progress. Like Japan in the late 1980s, China was set to surpass the US economy, and with that geopolitical benchmark, gallop quickly to become a global power second only to America.
Then, unexpectedly, China’s economic train was derailed by an event an ocean away: the Wall Street financial crisis in 2008, which triggered recessions in the United States and the European Union. The crisis struck hard export-driven economies like China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia and Germany. Hardest hit was China, being already hard-pressed by rising wages and nimble (lower wage) competitors in the region. Reduced demand in the United States and the European Union, China’s biggest and most important markets, forced it to go on a credit-fueled recovery binge up to the present, which made things worse. This piece will limit itself to China’s current fragile state and its strategic implications to the region. The local and international media have reported on China’s faltering economy, characterized by dwindling exports, stocks and real estate bubbles, ghost towns, rising social unrest, the resurfacing of regional animosities, and a soaring debt caused by stimulus packages to perk up the economy. In the wake of persistent reports about its evidently serious socioeconomic problems, China has maintained a stiff upper lip to prevent the situation from getting out of control. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

China blasts ‘unilateral’ Philippine move ahead of ruling


In this Jan. 6, 2016 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a China Southern Airlines jetliner lands at the airfield on Fiery Cross Reef, known as Yongshu Reef in Chinese, in the Spratly Islands, known as Nansha Islands in Chinese, of the South China Sea. Tensions in the South China Sea are rising, pitting China against smaller and weaker neighbors that all lay claim to islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters rich in fish and potential gas and oil reserves. China�s recent construction of artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago, complete with airstrips and radar stations, and U.S. patrols challenging Beijing�s vast territorial claims, have caused concern that the strategically important waters could become a flashpoint. (Cha Chunming/Xinhua via AP, File)

BEIJING, JUNE 13, 2016 (INQUIRER) 5:28 pm | Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 - China accused the Philippines Wednesday of ignoring requests for dialogue about their maritime dispute, as tensions rise before an international tribunal’s ruling on the territorial row.

The Philippines has “unilaterally closed the door of settling the South China Sea issue with China through negotiation,” China’s foreign ministry said in a lengthy statement published by the official Xinhua news agency.

The statement came a day after the end of an annual meeting between the US and China in Beijing, at which the two countries failed to make progress on the issue.

China asserts ownership over nearly all of the sea despite competing claims by several of its Southeast Asian neighbours, and has rapidly built artificial islands suitable for military use.

Manila accuses China of effectively taking control of Scarborough Shoal, one of the contested areas, in 2012 and has brought a case against Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

China has shunned the proceedings and said it will not recognise any ruling.

READ MORE...

In the statement, the foreign ministry said that in 1995 Beijing and Manila agreed to settle disputes through talks and negotiation. It accused the Philippines of ignoring proposals to create a consultation mechanism on disputes at sea.

The ministry did not specify how such consultations would be different from the numerous exchanges the countries have had on the issue.

It blamed Manila for the dramatic worsening in the two countries’ relations and in the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims to China, and object to its island-building.

Washington says such construction, which includes military-capable airstrips, threatens freedom of navigation. It has sent warships close to Chinese-claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

During the two-day meeting that ended Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to settle its territorial rows peacefully based on the “rule of law.”

But Beijing’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi said the US should butt out of disputes that were a long way from its shores, including the international arbitration case brought by the Philippines.

China’s stance on the case is “in line with international law,” Yang said, insisting that his country’s position “has not and will not change.”

RELATED STORIES
2 more Chinese lighthouses in Spratlys
US closely ‘watching’ Duterte, says expert
Sea dispute casts shadow over key US-China talks


INQUIRER

Duterte tells incoming Solicitor General to do his best: Incoming SolGen ‘very hopeful’ PH will win arbitration case vs China
12:16 pm | Saturday, June 4th, 2016

DAVAO CITY — Incoming Solicitor General Jose Calida on Saturday said he is “very hopeful” that the Philippines will win its arbitration case against China on the disputed West Philippine Sea.

“We are very hopeful that we will win this case,” Calida told reporters at Royal Mandaya Hotel.

The former Justice undersecretary said he recently met with incumbent Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who briefed him and incoming foreign affairs secretary Jun Yasay on the case.

READ: Duterte names members of Cabinet

“During that meeting we only discussed the West Philippine Sea dispute with China, he said.

“It’s really a complicated issue but according to the solicitor general now, around 70 to 80 percent we will win this case,” Calida said.

Asked what will happen if the country wins the case with the international tribunal, Calida said, “Well we will cross the bridge when we get there. We will wait for the decision then we will make our move.”

READ MORE...


DUTERTE'S SOLGEN. Former justice undersecretary Jose Calida is the Solicitor General in Duterte administration. Jose Calida, one of Duterte's campaign managers, served the Arroyo administration as justice undersecretary and concurrent executive director of the Dangerous Drugs Board Photo from Jose Calida's Facebook page

The Philippine government earlier asked the international tribunal in The Hague to rule on the validity of China’s controversial 9-dash line claim.

READ: Carpio: 3 possible scenarios in South China Sea arbitration ruling

Overworked lawyers

He said another issue he wants to address is the overwhelming number of cases that each solicitor handles.

“Did you know that they handle 1,500 cases? Each solicitor,” he said.

“We have around 250 solicitors and we are still recruiting. I want to recruit the best and the brightest,” Calida said

He said he wants to bring up the number of solicitors to 300 or more — “as much as our budget can afford.”

Asked what his priority will be? He said it is to “win every case that we will handle.”

Calida currently heads J. Calida & Associates Law Firm and the Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency.

He was Justice undersecretary from 2001 to 2004 and was executive director of Dangerous Drugs Board from Jan. 21 t Oct. 31, 2004. CDG

READ: Ex-MIAA chief Cusi is DOE secretary; former usec Calida is SolGen


PHILSTAR

China wants PH to drop UN suit and return to bilateral negotiation SHARES: 2063 VIEW COMMENTS By: Estrella Torres @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:52 AM June 9th, 2016

Faced with a setback in a United Nations arbitral court, China on Wednesday urged the Philippines to drop its legal tack and return to bilateral negotiation to settle their territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

China did not say, however, whether it would stop building artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago or whether it would withdraw from Panatag Shoal, which it seized from the Philippines in 2012 after a two-month standoff with the Philippine Navy, to encourage negotiations.

It was China’s seizure of Panatag Shoal, internationally known as Scarborough Shoal, that forced the Philippines to challenge China’s claim to almost all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea in the UN arbitration court in 2013.

The Philippines asked the court to invalidate China’s sweeping claims and declare its right to exploit resources in waters within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) be honored.

Ruling coming soon

China has refused to take part in the proceedings, but the court has heard the case and is expected to hand down a ruling in the coming weeks.

Expecting the ruling to go against it, China on Wednesday accused the Philippines of ignoring requests for dialogue about their dispute.

“China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement posted on his ministry’s website.

READ MORE...

The statement, released in both Chinese and English, said the two countries agreed in 1995 to settle disputes in the South China Sea “in a peaceful and friendly manner through consultations on the basis of equity and mutual respect.”

China and the Philippines have held many rounds of talks on the proper management of maritime disputes, though they have had no negotiations designed to settle the actual disputes in the South China Sea, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

“China has on a number of occasions proposed with the Philippines the establishment of a China-Philippines regular consultation mechanism on maritime issues; however, to date, there has never been any response from the Philippine side,” it said.

The ministry did not specify how such consultations would be different from the numerous exchanges the countries have had on the dispute.

Reef grabbing

It blamed the Philippines for the dramatic worsening in the two countries’ relations and in peace and stability in the South China Sea, but did not mention its actions that forced Manila to go to the United Nations for a peaceful settlement of the dispute.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) declined to comment.

A department official familiar with the arbitration case said Manila was expecting the tribunal to hand down a ruling this month and it would rather remain quiet until then.

In 1995, despite its proposal for talks, China seized Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), a reef 250 km west of Palawan province, and developed it into a shelter purportedly for fishermen.

The Philippines protested China’s actions and when Beijing went on developing Mischief Reef, Manila grounded a rusting hospital ship on Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) to mark Philippine territory in the Spratly archipelago.

A small Marine garrison is stationed on the vessel, the BRP Sierra Madre, which is restocked regularly using private supply ships protected by US warplanes.

Competing claims

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan have competing claims in the South China Sea, and they could benefit from the ruling of the UN arbitral court.

China, however, has been building artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago to bolster its claim to the strategic waterway, which is crisscrossed by vital sea-lanes through which about $5 trillion in global shipborne trade passes every year and where islets, reefs and atolls are believed to be sitting atop vast energy reserves.

Although saying it is not taking sides in the disputes, the United States has challenged China’s claims, sending warships and spy planes near the artificial islands in so-called freedom of navigation operations.

At the end of security talks in Beijing on Tuesday, China told the United States it should play a constructive role in safeguarding peace in the South China Sea, as US Secretary of State John Kerry called for talks and a peaceful resolution.

Comments both by Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, suggested that their governments remained far apart on the South China Sea disputes.

“I reiterated America’s fundamental support for negotiations, and a peaceful resolution based on the rule of law, as well as, obviously, our concern about any unilateral steps by anyone, whichever country, to alter the status quo,” Kerry said during a joint appearance with Chinese officials in the Great Hall of the People.

Yang, who steers Chinese foreign policy and is senior to the foreign minister, said China remained adamantly opposed to an arbitration case brought by the Philippines to assert its claims in the South China Sea.

“This has not changed and will not change,” Yang said, repeating China’s position that it is willing to negotiate over the disputes, but only with each individual country holding a rival claim, rather than collectively.

No enforcement powers

Also on Tuesday, Australian security policy expert Christopher Roberts said the UN court’s ruling was expected to be in favor of the Philippines, but Manila needed its allies and friends to help enforce the ruling.

The UN arbitral court has no powers to enforce its rulings, which have been ignored not a few times.

Roberts, speaking at the South China Sea forum at the DFA, said a bilateral approach might not work to temper the “very disconcerting and assertive behavior of China” in the settlement of disputes.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has said he is open to bilateral negotiations with China to solve the dispute, but is waiting for the UN tribunal’s ruling.

“China is the elephant in the room. Taking a multilayered approach at diplomatic level could bring a collection of willing states to signal to China that there are the options available and it should decide on both economic and political gains and losses,” Roberts said in an interview after the forum.

Wang, in the foreign ministry statement, said China “never accepts any recourse to third-party settlement, or any means of dispute settlement that is imposed on it.”

He insisted that territorial sovereignty issues were not subject to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“It is not only the Chinese government’s consistent policy, but also a clear agreement reached between China and the Philippines, to settle their relevant disputes in the South China Sea through negotiation,” Wang said.
With reports from the wires

--------------------------

RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Will Duterte go soft on China? ABS-CBN News Posted at Jun 08 2016 01:58 AM | Updated as of Jun 08 2016 02:24 AM

MANILA – It is still too early to tell whether the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will take a soft approach on the Philippines' maritime dispute with China, an international policy expert said on Tuesday.

Speaking on ANC's "Beyond Politics" on Tuesday, Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative director Gregory Poling said that outgoing President Benigno Aquino did not assume office with anti-China sentiments, but the Scarborough Shoal incident forced the government to take a more hard-line stance.

"It's way too early, I think, to say whether or not a Duterte presidency is going to differ significantly from the Aquino presidency on policy. Clearly, the rhetoric has softened from President-elect Duterte compared to President Aquino," Poling told ANC's Lynda Jumilla. "But let's remember: President Aquino did not come into office with an anti-Beijing agenda.

In late 2011, he went to Beijing; he met with, at that time President Hu Jintao, (and) came out of that meeting with positive statements about trade deals and investment deals and how great the new era of China-Philippine relations is going to be.


TWEET: Greg Poling @GregPoling Director of @AsiaMTI & Fellow with @SoutheastAsiaDC/@PacPartnersDC

And six months later, Beijing seized Scarborough Shoal," he continued. Poling said Duterte's plan for bilateral talks with China is a welcome change in Philippine-China relations, but the policy expert is skeptical that China will deal with the Philippine government fairly.

"Talking is nice, and the change in rhetoric can be very helpful, but the question is: 'Is Beijing willing to deal with the next Philippine administration in a more fair way than they dealt with the last?' Because if not, it's not going to take long for them to turn President-elect Duterte's rhetoric into a mere image of current President Aquino's rhetoric," Poling said.

He also revealed that China had been ramping up its construction activities in the disputed areas. Poling, who is part of an American think-tank that deals with satellite monitoring of Beijing's activities, said China seems to be building a military base. "In the Spratlys, it had seven very tiny concrete pillboxes basically the same as everybody else. Now, we have seven fully-functioning, soon-to-be military bases in the South China Sea that are going to allow a huge increase in the number of Chinese ships and planes in the area, especially coast guard, fishing -- these fishermen that also act as maritime militia. It's going to be an enormous problem for regional states," Poling said.

According to Poling, this poses not only a threat to the Philippines, but to other neighboring countries as well, such as Vietnam and Malaysia.

"The biggest concern is going to be the enormous fishing fleets, the doubling of military troops and the enormous coast guard that are going to make it. At least, China's goal is to make it impossible for the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia to use these waters and seabed and airspace without China's forbearance," he added.


NEW YORK TIMES

Rodrigo Duterte, Poised to Lead Philippines, Is Expected to Take New Approach to China 点击查看本文中文版 Read in Chinese By RICHARD C. PADDOCKMAY 11, 2016


The Filipino presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte is no stranger to controversy.

MANILA — Rodrigo Duterte, poised to be the Philippines’ next president, has signaled that he will try a new approach toward China by emphasizing economic ties.

During the campaign, he talked tough about China’s activities in the South China Sea, saying he would ride a Jet Ski to the contested Spratly Islands and plant the Philippine flag there. Yet he also said he would seek Beijing’s help in building a rail line that would link Manila to the southern island of Mindanao, where he served as mayor of Davao City for nearly two decades.

He even proclaimed he would “shut up” about the South China Sea if China built the railway.

“Development rather than deterrence — that is going to be doctrine on the South China Sea,” said Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila. “The Jet Ski, planting the flag, that is Duterte the entertainer. But you will see the contemplative president developing foreign policy.”

Though the bombastic Mr. Duterte has yet to assume the role, some analysts say his unpredictability will help him negotiate with foreign powers. At the same time, they expect him to maintain a close relationship with the United States, which has strong military ties with the Philippines.

READ MORE...


Supporters of Rodrigo Duterte during an election campaign rally in Manila on Saturday. Ballots were still being tabulated on Wednesday, but Mr. Duterte was far ahead of his nearest rival. Credit Mohd Rasfan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

With 96 percent of the votes from Monday’s election counted on Wednesday, Mr. Duterte led with 38.5 percent, far ahead of his rivals. In the Philippine system, only a plurality is required to win.

Though there are no official results yet, President Benigno S. Aquino III congratulated Mr. Duterte on his victory and pledged to cooperate in the transfer of power. He said his administration had formed a transition team to work with Mr. Duterte’s staff.

“We are committed to effecting the smoothest transition possible,” Mr. Aquino said.

Mr. Duterte, who would be the first mayor and the first official from impoverished Mindanao to win the presidency, faces formidable challenges in governing the island nation of 100 million people. Despite recent economic growth, a quarter of the nation lives in poverty.

He promised during the campaign to lead a ruthless battle against crime. His first priority will be keeping that pledge, analysts say. “I will become a dictator against all bad guys,” he told reporters on Monday.

Another pressing issue is China’s expansion in the South China Sea, where it has built islands and military bases in the areas claimed by the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

The Contenders

Jejomar Binay, 73, is a former mayor of Makati, the capital's financial district, and vice president. Corruption allegations, which he denies, have tarnished his image.

Rodrigo Duterte, 71, is the mayor of Davao City, where he gained a reputation for reducing crime rates, although some have questioned the legality of his actions in the process.

Grace Poe, 47, is the adopted daughter of actors. Ms. Poe, a senator, faced a legal battle over questions about her citizenship.

Mar Roxas, 58, is the son of a senator and grandson of a president. President Aquino endorsed the candidacy of Mr. Roxas, who was interior minister in his administration. Under Mr. Aquino, the Philippines challenged China’s claims in a United Nations arbitration court. A decision is expected before Mr. Duterte takes office on June 30, and experts say the Philippines is likely to prevail. However, China has refused to participate in the case, and the court has no enforcement mechanism.

Mr. Duterte is likely to use a decision in the Philippines’ favor as leverage to win concessions from China, particularly investment in infrastructure, like the rail line to Mindanao, analysts say.

“He will talk to China, not like President Aquino,” said Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, a nonprofit organization promoting democracy. “He is willing to explore other realms of relations, economic cooperation and joint development.”

Beijing views relations with the Philippines to be at a low and sees room for improvement, an editorial in the state-run Global Times said this week.

“China will not be too naïve to believe that a new president will bring a promising solution to the South China Sea disputes between Beijing and Manila,” the editorial said. “Only time will tell how far the new leader, be it Duterte or not, will go toward restoring the bilateral relationship.”

Today’s Headlines: Asia Edition Get news and analysis from Asia and around the world delivered to your inbox every day in the Asian morning.

Filipinos overwhelmingly favor close ties to the United States, which once governed the islands as a territory, and many are suspicious of China and its intentions in the South China Sea.

The United States and the Philippines have a mutual defense pact. In addition, in Mindanao the United States is helping to combat Abu Sayyaf, a gang of kidnappers that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Clarita Carlos, a retired political science professor at the University of the Philippines, said that with those realities she expects Mr. Duterte to find a middle course between the United States and China, which both have significant trade with the Philippines.

“People say it’s the U.S. versus China,” she said. “But they are both our friends. China is also dependent on us. Let them learn the lesson that cooperation is the name of the game.”

She also expects Mr. Duterte to become less spontaneous in his comments when he is the nation’s leader.

“I’m sure he will become more temperate as he sees the enormity of the task,” she said.

Follow Richard C. Paddock on Twitter @RCPaddock.

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A version of this article appears in print on May 12, 2016, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Next Philippine President Signals Change in Approach to China. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe


INQUIRER

COMMENTARY China descending SHARES: 909 VIEW COMMENTS By: Narciso Reyes Jr. @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:12 AM June 11th, 2016


China’s paramount leader, President Xi Jinping

What a difference a few years make: In 2005 China was a fast-rising economic superstar, the world’s unstoppable manufacturing locomotive, pulling along many major and emergent economies toward predictable growth and impressive progress.

Like Japan in the late 1980s, China was set to surpass the US economy, and with that geopolitical benchmark, gallop quickly to become a global power second only to America.

Then, unexpectedly, China’s economic train was derailed by an event an ocean away: the Wall Street financial crisis in 2008, which triggered recessions in the United States and the European Union. The crisis struck hard export-driven economies like China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia and Germany. Hardest hit was China, being already hard-pressed by rising wages and nimble (lower wage) competitors in the region. Reduced demand in the United States and the European Union, China’s biggest and most important markets, forced it to go on a credit-fueled recovery binge up to the present, which made things worse.

This piece will limit itself to China’s current fragile state and its strategic implications to the region.

The local and international media have reported on China’s faltering economy, characterized by dwindling exports, stocks and real estate bubbles, ghost towns, rising social unrest, the resurfacing of regional animosities, and a soaring debt caused by stimulus packages to perk up the economy. In the wake of persistent reports about its evidently serious socioeconomic problems, China has maintained a stiff upper lip to prevent the situation from getting out of control.

READ MORE...

Otto von Bismarck advised never to believe anything in politics until it is officially denied. Translation: Denials are a government’s most popular instruments to send messages to target audiences.

Bismarck would have been surprised to learn that China’s paramount leader, President Xi Jinping, does not subscribe to his injunction, judging by a recent (May 9) front-page commentary in the flagship party journal, the People’s Daily.

In that unprecedented and strikingly blunt analysis of China’s current economic woes, reported by China watchers like Asia Times and Geopolitical Futures, the “unnamed authoritative” source warned the public not to believe in rosy statistics in interpreting China’s current crisis.

The contributor, rumored to be close to Xi, described China’s condition as “L-shaped,” a trajectory of sudden rise followed by a flat line of stagnation, which may continue unless

China’s problems are addressed vigorously at the structural level instead of applying unworkable solutions like accumulating more debts through stimulus programs.

To lend credence to the commentary, the journal published a speech by Xi the next day that echoed the analysis in the lengthy commentary. The immediate effect of both publications is the cooling of foreign investor confidence, according to the Asia Times.


Chinese president Xi Jinping, left, and  Li Keqiang. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

It is evident even from sparse news reports that Xi is repudiating the architect of the stimulus policy, Premier (and China’s economic steward) Li Keqiang, and blaming him for the present crisis and economic ills. A power struggle between the two most powerful leaders in China appears to be in full swing, with Xi likely to emerge the winner.

But regardless of who wins, China’s leadership will maintain its aggressive and bullying policy in the South China-West Philippine Sea for these reasons:

• China is, first and foremost a coastal trading nation. This is highlighted by the fact that eight of its ports are among the world’s ten busiest.

China would be dealt a catastrophic blow if the choke points in the South China-West Philippine Sea are sealed off by a hostile power in the future (read: the United States, the only country with the military power capable of doing it).

• China needs islands (real or artificial) to protect its vital trade routes. It doesn’t have the naval might to challenge the United States which, as the undisputed global superpower, has 12 state-of-the-art aircraft carrier battle fleets scattered worldwide. China has one (Ukraine-) rebuilt aircraft carrier, but not even one battle fleet. To compensate for its much weaker military capability, China would rely on a “first island chain” sea-control capability—with the help of multipurpose missiles—from the Sea of Japan to Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and the coasts of Vietnam. China’s “nine-dash line” is the southern part of that chain. The nasty problem is most of the waters, islets, atolls, and islands claimed arrogantly by China are in disputed waters or lie within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of claimant countries like the Philippines.

• Even with China’s faltering economy, Xi is expected to maintain a hard line on the South China-West Philippine Sea issues. His primary concerns are China’s existential threats and his own political survival. Both concerns dictate that he use the sea issues adroitly to galvanize his people, now caught between the unifying centripetal force of national interest and the fragmenting, centrifugal tendencies being fostered by social unrest.

China is expected to defiantly and totally ignore the forthcoming ruling of the UN arbitral tribunal that is expected to favor the Philippines’ position that it alone enjoys the “sovereign right” to develop all waters, islets, atolls, and islands within its EEZ.

As China weakens, its very vulnerability may paradoxically make it more dangerous to regional peace. During testy times, it is far better to have a stable, confident China than one with frustrating domestic problems and unsteady fingers on missile buttons.

Narciso Reyes Jr. (ngreyes1640@hotmail.com) is an international book author and former diplomat. He lived in Beijing in 1978-81 as bureau chief of the Philippine News Agency.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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