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Really, it’s enough to tempt even the patient observer to ditch the diplomatic niceties. China, through its Ambassador to Manila Ma Keqing, has raised concerns over “the Philippines coming up with structures, additional structures, on Ayungin Shoal” in the Spratly Islands, according to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. In a report, Gazmin further quoted Ma as saying that China is continuously monitoring Philippine troops in the area or whether new structures are being built.
Walk softly and carry a big stick. Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum of practical diplomacy works only if a big stick is handy, like a powerful navy that has just circled the world. In the matter of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the Philippines does not wield anything that can be mistaken for a [...]
The government’s decision to challenge China’s expansive claims to the South China Sea by invoking the arbitration provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) is both unexpected and overdue. Many simply assumed that the government’s legal option (its so-called third track of resolving the conflict in territorial and maritime claims, after political means and diplomatic measures) meant filing a case before the right court; in this case, the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, or Itlos, in Hamburg, Germany. At the same time, the clear and compelling arguments for the Philippine case fed a growing impatience for legal action; why was the Department of Foreign Affairs taking so long?
By Conrado de Quiros
It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.
By Amando Doronila
Barely three weeks after being elected chief of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping began a visit to south China on Dec. 7, proclaiming to the world that his regime was taking steps to build up the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as the cutting edge of “the great revival of a strong Chinese nation” backed by “a powerful military.”
By Greg Torode
Placing consensus above all, it is fair to say that Asean leaders are generally not known for their displays of emotion or passion.
By Amando Doronila
By disregarding its passport, China has sparked a torrent of diplomatic protests. The new passport carries a map that shows China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and on its border with India.
By Bobby M. Tuazon
In dealing with China particularly on territorial disputes, the Philippines’ foreign policy makers still live in the Cold War era. The Aquino administration lacks strategic thinkers and talks through variant voices, with its “backdoor diplomacy” compromised by leaks and acrimonious public debates.
By Carlos L. Agustin
Tensions among rival claimant-states to the waters and land features of the West Philippine Sea (WPS)—particularly China, the Philippines and Vietnam—have escalated significantly in the last several years, bringing the Philippines to center stage as a key participant in the future of security and stability in our part of the world.
The Chinese government has reiterated its commitment to a code of conduct that will resolve tensions and guarantee freedom of navigation in the South China Sea—that hub of major shipping lanes and suspected vast oil and gas reserves known in the Philippines as the West Philippine Sea, in Vietnam as the East Sea, and in China simply as the South Sea.
By James D. Lansang
The brouhaha over Scarborough Shoal, much to my chagrin and at the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I can only view as puerile, comical, or pure braggadocio. The mere fact that the general area has been called “South China Sea,” and the tiny atoll “Scarborough,” since time immemorial should have served us notice long ago that some intruders were “trampling our sacred shores.”
By Kevin H.R. Villanueva
A remarkable thing that emerged from the recent Asean diplomatic fracas is one hard truth for this regional bloc that seeks to strike common ground: The 10 countries guard against encroachments on national sovereignty and state interests. But another truth, perhaps a more painful one, is that the finger-pointing that resulted is a very un-Asean thing. And the clear indication of general remorse is that some member-states, Indonesia most especially, have taken it upon themselves to mend fraying ties.