No nation wars against itself
Healing US-PH relations
Then camethe middle of 2017. With a new US ambassador to the Philippines, relations between the country and America began appearing headed for a healing from the strains suffered early on in the Duterte administration. None of the animosities the President had with Philip Goldberg, immediate past US Ambassador to the Philippines, were manifest between him and Sung Kim, Goldberg’s replacement. As developments indicated, Kim was doing an excellent yeoman’s job assuaging earlier diplomatic hurts. In a swing of Asean countries from August 5 to 9 this year, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson got the privilege of being addressed by President Duterte thus: “I am your humble friend in Southeast Asia.”
The statement was made by President Malacañang on August 7, 2017. Being what they are, diplomatic statements do not bare hard realities, but what the realities revealed by the warm, tight handshake the two exchanged: a coming full circle of US-Philippine relations.
Necessarily, in making the 360-degree turnaround, President Duterte rolls over China. This is a basic principle in contradiction, and in the contradiction between China and the US, no other country becomes close to one as much as to the other.
After that Tillerson visit, President Duterte was into an uncharacteristic singing of the good ole American ditty: a unilateral push by the Philippines of the PCA ruling on the PH-China dispute over certain sections of the South China Sea.
In a recent visit to Davao City by Chi- nese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, President Duterte reportedly insisted that any upcoming bilateral talks with China be based on the PCA ruling on the South China Sea dispute. This matter was reported by the President to troops “We avoid trouble with them.
Mr. Ambassador, I will not talk about it but when we are in front of each other in a bilateral talk, just the two of us, then I would state my case. I have this arbitral judgment. We will not go out of the four corners of this paper, then let us talk.”
The President certainly knew whereof he was speaking. China even before the PCA proceedings could start back in 2013 was unequivocal in its position of not recognizing those proceedings. President Duterte’s demand now of not going out of the “four corners” of the PCA ruling necessarily comes to a head-on collision with the Chinese position.
physics, “When two irresistible forces meet, something’s gotta give.”
The President admitted in that talk with his soldiers, “If China withdraws from formal talks, then it could only mean one thing.” What that “one thing” towards the future. The Philippines is going to experience another spasm. When, I do not know, but that’s for sure. So be prepared even with limited talent and capacity. We cannot really produce the missiles and things... we don’t care as long as later, but we have to prepare.”