DUTERTE URGED

New Straits Times - - World -

Philip­pine EEZ.”

The Philip­pines, he said, should strengthen al­liances, par­tic­u­larly with de­fence treaty part­ner, the United States.

He also crit­i­cised Duterte for deal­ing with China bi­lat­er­ally and at Nare­suan Uni­ver­sity and an ex­pert on Thai mil­i­tary.

The pub­lic does not ap­pear too con­cerned. The gov­ern­ment says mil­i­tary re­cruit­ment num­bers dou­bled this year from the pre­vi­ous year and at­tribute that to pub­lic ap­proval of their hard-line tac­tics in break­ing a po­lit­i­cal im­passe “his habit of pre­sent­ing a pic­ture of hope­less­ness so peo­ple would agree to his own so­lu­tions like the full em­brace of China”.

Duterte has or­ches­trated a stag­ger­ing re­ver­sal of Philip­pine for­eign pol­icy to­wards China, that had per­sisted for years.

Per­haps more re­veal­ing than a mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment stacked full of mil­i­tary men is the num­ber of or­ders is­sued by the junta: 358 in to­tal since 2014.

The or­ders aimed to im­pose dis­ci­pline on ev­ery as­pect of Thai choos­ing not to con­front Bei­jing over the South China Sea, but to tap it for bil­lions of dol­lars of loans and in­vest­ments for in­fra­struc­ture, the back­bone of his eco­nomic agenda.

Duterte dis­closed Xi’s al­leged threat in a speech on Fri­day as he hit back at do­mes­tic crit­ics, Car­pio among them, who said he had gone soft on Bei­jing by re­fus­ing to push it to com­ply with The Hague rul­ing. He dis­cussed it with Xi when they met in Bei­jing last Mon­day.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Ernesto Abella said a “frank dis­cus­sion” had taken place with China on pos­si­ble oil ex­plo­rations in the South China Sea and “both par­ties agreed to pur­sue a more peace­ful res­o­lu­tion to the mat­ter that sat­is­fies both our sov­er­eign and eco­nomic rights.”

Abella de­fended Duterte and said his two-track ap­proach to deal­ing with China fo­cused on eco­nomic growth with­out com­pro­mis­ing Philip­pine sovereignty. Reuters pub­lic life.

Army spokesman Winthai Su­va­ree said those ef­forts by the junta, for­mally known as the Na­tional Coun­cil for Peace and Or­der, had im­proved Thai­land.

“Over­all, peo­ple are sat­is­fied with con­crete changes in so­ci­ety,” Winthai said. Reuters

REUTERS PIC

A store show­ing Thai­land Prime Min­is­ter Prayuth Chan o cha on TV dur­ing his weekly broad­cast in Bangkok on Fri­day.

AP PIC

Philip­pine Supreme Court As­so­ciate Jus­tice An­to­nio Car­pio hold­ing a hard copy of his e-book that ques­tions China’s his­toric claims to most of the South China Sea.

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