Duterte begins to show deft diplomacy

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From President Rodrigo Duterte’s revelations on his talks with top Chinese officials during his recent visit to Beijing, it is reassuring for the nation to know that contrary to what many feared, the President clearly put forward our country’s position and concerns.

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First, he asked the Chinese government to stop its fishermen from fishing in the disputed Panatag (Scarborough Shoal), on the grounds that the shoal falls within our country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

To this he drew the response that the Chinese government has told its fishermen to leave the contested area.

The President has asked our people to wait just a few more days and they could return to fishing in Scarborough.

Second, Duterte cited the July 12 ruling of the United Nations arbitral tribunal at The Hague, as our country’s main argument for asserting sovereign rights over the shoal.

To this, the Chinese officials were quick to answer that China has historic rights over the shoal.

This sounded like a showstopper in reflecting a clear clash of positions, but Duterte showed deftness in steering the discussion toward areas where there can be common ground or agreement.

He veered toward the importance of each country having a good food supply. He said: “It behooves upon us not to gamble on the fishing ground because otherwise, it would create imbalance in our food supply. They told me they also told the Chinese fishermen to leave, but I don’t know if they will keep their word.”

The President disclosed that China vowed to boost the Philippines’ agricultural sector through affordable financing schemes for farmers.

The scheme, Duterte said, would spur the revival of the policies of the late President Ferdinand Marcos dubbed as Masagana 99, which promoted high-yield crops, and Biyaya ng Dagat, which granted aid to fishermen.

“I will bring back Biyaya ng Dagat and Masagana 99. I will copy it. Marcos was very bright, he knew what to do. The agriculture sector will get one of the biggest budgets under this government,” Duterte said.

The President recognizes that his friendly stance toward China is not enough to make Beijing accept its bitter defeat before the UN-backed tribunal anytime soon.

“They said they own the island historically, and I said to them we won’t back down from there because we won the case in the UN Court. But I won’t pick up a fight. The solution is not to kill each other. We can resolve this case peacefully, someday. We will continue to talk,” Duterte said.

“One day, in the future, we will really talk about the UN ruling. We can’t leave it hanging. And when we do, we won’t go out of that document. But I will not insist now; I will not impose now; I will not go to war now,” the President said.

This is a wise and commendable tack to follow. It calls to mind the thinking of the venerable Deng Xiaoping in handling the thorny Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu islands to China) dispute between China and Japan.

In 1972, when diplomatic relations between China and Japan were established, Deng served as chief negotiator for the Chinese government. The two countries found reasons to defer resolution of the territorial dispute.

Deng Xiaoping at the time expressed the following view: “It does not matter if this question is shelved for some time, say, 10 years. Our generation is not wise enough to find common language on this question. Our next generation will certainly be wiser. They will certainly find a solution acceptable to all.”

President Duterte’s decision to forbear from insisting on an immediate solution to the South China Sea question echoes Deng’s confidence in the ability of future generations to find a solution acceptable to all.

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16 Comments

  1. GENE EXPLAINS DUTERTE’S WILD BEHAVIOR, SCIENTISTS SAY

    MANILA (TP) Scientists at the University of Manila’s Genome Institute announced they have identified a rare gene in President Duterte’s genetic makeup that explains his outbursts and erratic behavior.

    Speaking to assembled reporters about the explosive discovery, Dr. Manual Maldonado of the Genome Institute said, “Our research group knew something had to be done fast to identify the cause of the problem. We were motivated as much as citizens as scientists. But, working night and day since Duterte’s election, and guided by a Japanese study that mapped escalated aggression in wild-derived mouse strain MSM/Ms in association with serotonin-related genes, we finally succeeded in isolating a gene in Duterte’s genetic makeup which explains his wild, erratic behavior.” “So, in layman’s terms, Duterte has a ‘wild gene?'” one reporter interjected. “Yes, I suppose you could call it that,” Dr. Maldanado agreed. “We have now turned our attention to a genetically engineered cure which we hope to have available on an experimental basis sometime before the next presidential election.” Following this announcement, a collective gasp went up in the room. “Can’t you act faster?” a chorus of reporters urged. Some pulled their hair, while others began to cry. “We’ll do our best,” Dr. Maldanado said with a grim expression as if he had just announced an asteroid might hit the Philippines before countermeasures could be taken. “If we could just get more funding from the Chinese–on second thought, better ask the Americans…” Dr. Maldonado trailed off as he left the stage. “Excuse me people. No time to lose.”

    Donations to the research project can be made to Wild Gene Project, c/o, Genome Institute, University of Manila, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines. No donation too small.

  2. Thank you for the editorial! Of the three countries, only China is into the communist political system, Russia and the PH are democratic in its politics? There is multi party, not one like China. I like the editorial, I hope Duterte reads it.

  3. Your heading says it all: YANKEE. And what should I expect? A Chinese nationalist in US soil? The only problem though is that you’re neither white nor yellow. I think you’re confused about your lineage.

    How should a Filipino living in the Philippines enjoying now a more peaceful society answer you? Honestly, I don’t know because obviously, you don’t understand our situation here.

    If your sources of information come from the media, I suggest that you reside here for ten years first before you open your mouth and don’t think you know better when you’re not on ground zero.

  4. Just to check it wasn’t a typo error, your title really did mean “deft” not “daft”?

    Right?

    • Ernesto Dela Cruz on

      That’s cute. But I’m sure it’s deft. Digong is a tactician and very adept at that.

  5. He goes there for ECONOMIC & TRADE BENEFITS ONLY. I ask you Did he sign any Military Treaty with the Chinese …… That’s a BIG NO … You speculate very much and now what did you see … DU30 is a good political tactician…. only a yellow people knows nothing of any accomplishments just to oppose anything this present administration is doing …. yes he has expletives on the Americans because there is a big reason why he is doing that not on his own personal capacity but for all the Filipinos (Eq. let every Americans who wants to go to the Philippines must first secure a Visa from our embassy in USA before coming over here and verify their intentions and reject/deny if they are a nuisance only without any purpose here.) That i call equality and respect. The Americans treat us an economic migrant (TNT) that is why they are strict against the Filipinos and tell us that is wrong, that is right and do this and do that. It’s like a Master and his pet Dog.

  6. jaime dela Cruz on

    I recently had an opportunity to chat with a retired Department of Agriculture regional director and he told me that Masagana 99 was indeed a good initiative and could have helped our farmers had it not been for corrupt local officials. According to him, everything about Masagana 99 is perfect for our farmers but as he said in our common language, Ilocano, “bekeklen da met idtoy local government”( the local government choked the initiative with corruption) He said that by the time the budget gets to the farmers, it almost not enough to buy seedlings to plant. The program usually included training, irrigation initiatives, suplemented by road buildings by another government agency, he said we all know how that all went. If we truly want to be food sufficient, we ALL need to work together for the Philippines because Duterte cannot do it by himself.

  7. BRAVO to Pres Duterte! He clearly has the PHILIPPINES AND ITS CITIZENS welfare in mind. Crude maybe for some BUT TO US THE REAL CITIZEN of the country staying here we do not mind at all. Digong is VERY ASTUTE N INTELLIGENT AND REALLY WORKS HARD… that is more important to us

  8. DU30 is steering the PH to become a friendly nation. He is changing the distrust in China by opening up the PH and showing us what can be gained. He is breaking the master/slave relationship with the US. He tells us that we are independent and will do what is good for the country. He tells us that the US relationship with the US is not dead, it is only changed. SO far, so good.

  9. There is no doubt that his intentions is to keep RP safe against the conflict between US. And China. It is very clear to me. The goal is there but the methodology in reaching your goal is wrong. I cannot condone Pilipinos in disrespecting another person , US , EU, UN. Our parents teach Good manners and Right Conduct. Do what is right and avoid doing what is wrong. Be humble and not be proud. These are the traits every Pilipinos must must have and not throw p. Ina, SOB words. Has our society gone to the gutters !

    • There are times we need to be terse and show what we got. Bullies only recognize force. With the kind of noise DU30 generated using his kind of language, the world took notice and sit up asking who this DU30 is. Why does he have the nerve to say those things against the great America!

      Has there ever been a Philippine president who was being talked about all over the world whether it is based on a good or bad statement? Only DU30 got this kind of attention. If he had not used his big mouth, will we even be noticed by the powers that be?

    • You must understand that this is not an ordinary neighborhood just like in any corner of the Philippines. We are talking about other races who have their own self-interest, being nice will not do the trick. We have been very nice to the US and this is what we got: heaps of abuses, not for a year but for decades. You should understand that in order to gain higher ground in international politics you should know how to play the game of chess: you keep the other person guessing or keep him off balance. Guess what? It’s working, though admittedly, we still have to see the conclusion of this.

  10. Yonkers, New York
    25 October 2016

    This unexpected Editorial of the Manila Times of October 26 could sound like Beethoven’s celebrated NINTH SYMHONY to Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte.

    On closer examination, however, all of the above will pale in comparison to Little Tyrant Duterte virtually genuflecting before his new “master,” Chinese President XI JINPING, and declaring to the whole world what millions of Filipinos will find quite troubling. This is his seismic Statement:

    ‘I’VE REALIGNED MYSELF WITH YOUR IDEOLOGICAL FLOW AND MAYBE I WILL GO TO RUSSIA TO TALK TO [PRESIDENT VLADIMIR] PUTIN AND TELL HIM THERE ARE ARE THREE OF US AGAINST THE WORLD–CHINA, PHILIPPINES AND RUSSIA. IT’S THE ONLY WAY.” [Caps mine]

    Now it is clear that the Philippines is with the “IDEOLOGICAL FLOW” of China–meaning of course that the Philippines is now a COMMUNIST STATE, albeit a Vassal of Goliath China.

    “Three of us against the world?” Meaning China, the Philippines and Russia against the United States of America, the 27 other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and possibly also India, South Korea and Vietnam?

    If he meant that as his opening salvo as a GEOSTRATEGIC THINKER CUM MILITARY GENIUS, Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte only succeeded in making a neurotic FOOL of himself.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    • Bgy Masuso
      Bulacan

      You would realize that Digong is not a tyrant if only you live here in the Phils.
      His passion to keep the country safe, secure and dignified is very evident and enough to make up for his brash manners.

    • Duterte re-aligned HIMSELF with the Ideological flow of China and Russia, not the entire Philippines, your honor..