No na­tion wars against it­self

Manila Times - - OPINION - MAURO GIA SAMONTE pa­natinkaya.Sin­abiko, (Tobe­con­tin­ued) Hindi

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.