Unnecessary provocation of China by the President


IN announcing the inclusion of the disputed territories issue in his Japan state visit agenda, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd is again stirring the pot, so to speak. The apparent agitation seems unnecessary, and it is unclear what national interest it hopes to serve.

Note that the Aquino government’s approach to territorial disputes actually worsened the situation for the Philippines. Chinese expansion in the West Philippine Sea has accelerated, not slowed down, under President Aquino’s watch. Today, Filipino fishermen have even less access to fishing grounds than before, thanks to more harassment by Chinese warships. Also, tension in the region is rising as the United States beefs up its naval presence and steps up its rhetoric against China.

We can only hope that President Aquino has a rational endgame in mind. Is he instead expecting the Chinese to be intimidated by US naval presence around the disputed territories? The Chinese are more likely to harden their position, which threatens to spawn a new “cold war” against the US. We doubt that the Philippines is ready for something like that.

Is the Philippines hoping for a hot war between China and US over the disputed territories? We hope not, because when giants collide, little players like the Philippines risk being squashed. More formally, instability in the Asia Pacific would threaten economic development in the entire region, including the Philippines.

President Aquino is better off sticking to his economic agenda during his state visit. Rightly so, he will be appealing for more Japanese investments in the Philippines. We sense that some Japanese investors feel uneasy about doing business on the mainland because of their country’s own row with the Chinese. We wonder, though, if President Aquino thinks that engaging the Chinese in a verbal tussle will endear him to prospective Japanese investors. They are likely to give more weight to economic considerations and rates of return than to whatever posturing the President makes.

Even if President Aquino feels compelled to raise the issue during his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, did he have to announce it? Surely, the Japanese have been alerted to the topics that President Aquino wishes to tackle with the premier. Does he think that his pre-departure statement will enhance the quality of his bilateral talks? Does President Aquino think that China will retreat from the West Philippine Sea upon hearing reports that Manila and Tokyo are joining forces against Beijing? Again, that would be improbable. The more likely outcome is that it would bolster the hawks in China and contribute to the further hardening of its stand.

Frankly, President Aquino’s pronouncements puzzle us. Clearly, he wants to assert the Philippine claims. But he should reflect on whether his efforts are actually working. It does not seem so.

To be clear, we support the Philippine claims against any foreign power. But we also believe that the disputed territories issue should not define our relations with China. We also believe that we have more to gain from befriending China than by antagonizing it unnecessarily and contributing to the escalation of tensions between the Chinese and Americans. Lastly, we believe in a peaceful resolution to the conflict through diplomacy. But for a peaceful and mutually beneficial resolution to be reached, President Aquino should first learn the proverb: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”


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  1. Tunay na Pinoy on

    Mahiya naman kayo sa balat nyo at manindigan bilang Filipino mbes na icriticize ang ginagawa ng presidente. Dapat syang suportahan sa paghanap ng sulusyon para itigil ang pangbu bully ng China. Pinoy nga ba kayo? When China tried to build an oil drilling in a disputed sea near Vietnam, this created an immediate strong reaction from Vietnam citizens condemning the action. Several protest were held. The Vietnam navy although they know they are very small compared to China was not intimidated and had an exchanges of water canon with Chinese because they know their citizens were behind them. In the end, China stop building the oil drilling. Kayo anong ginagawa nyo? kung ano anong pambabatikos ang ginagawa nyo sa action na ginagawa ng President. Pinagtatawanan tayo ng China. Ginagamit nila itong editorial na ito para ijustify ang action nila sa kanilang mga mamayan. eto ang link sa newspaper sa China. http://t.co/SLkRgczzF2

  2. “Unnecessary provocation of China by the President” ARE YOU JOKING ?
    tama ang sabi ni presidente, wala nang ginawang tama sa mga MATA nang mga filipino, mabuti pa ibang bansa ginagalang siya, kaya walang asenso ang pilipinas.

  3. China is challenging the U.S as the next world leader and setting up new rules, such as AIIB vs.World Bank. So the U.S wants to contain China by creating conflicts in its neighboring countries. It would be the worst strategy for the Philippines to act as an agent for the U.S Asia pivot strategy and even danger itself by going into a proxy war with China. When China is really cornered, they will fight back fiercely and don’t imagine the U.S will die for the Philippines, no way(consider the U.S vs Russia in Crimea)

  4. Teddy Sevilla on

    Am I reading this right? Gusto niyong tumahimik lang ang ating Presidente sa issue na ito. Bakit? Para kung tahimik lang siya at hindi magsalita ay magkaroon kayo ng pagkakataon na murahin siya at sabihan na walang ginagawa? Is your hatred of Aquino obscuring your judgement in this matter?

    China is a bully who believes that might confers absolute privileges. Our country is in no position to confront them militarily. We run to natural allies in this case. Whether we announce this in public or hold secret talks, China wii be incensed. Kung magsumbong tayo na patago sa Japan, as you prefer President Aquino to do, eh di lang sumbungero kalalabasan natin, DUWAG PA. Is this what you want, Mr. Editor?

  5. Chinese are to smart… all their actions are calculated and have so many back-up plans. In order to conquer the world, starts with the weakest then slowly but surely-attack! Everyone is afraid to china due to their economy and largest investments/debts. Thats why they just keep on “shouting” but chinese will never and ever listen. It’s their plan, it must continue and objective mus achieve. They will keep on going and going until they got/have what they really want and nothing left for us? They cannot do it again to Vietnam, if they do that-they are ready for conflict that leads to war? Theyre too smart to chose the philippines, who are not capable to defend themselves. Too many “words spoken” and leaders are “shouting”…Enough! We need “VERB” not noun beacause they are really too smart.

  6. Braincleaner on

    He wants to sound patriotic before the Filipino people. Hoping to divert the Filipino nation’s attention from adverse issues against his administration.

  7. I am saddened that Aquino will not discuss things with China on a Nation to nation basis but he will come to an agreement with a terrorist group (MILF). He needs to learn that our president must talk with Nations and he must not negotiate with terrorists.

    • Teddy Sevilla on

      As Ambassador Del Rosario has pointed out, the Philippines had met with China regarding the territorial issue more than 50 times. In all those meetings, China has never wavered from its position of sovereignty over almost all of the China Sea. China was using the nation-to-nation excuse to supposedly show that it was listening to its small and poor neighbor. All these negotiations were conducted with BAD FAITH and MALICE which pushed the Philippines to seek international arbitration.

      Ang China ang matigas ang ulo. Wala naman talaga silang intensyon na makinig sa Pilipinas. Huwag natin sanang maliitin ang pagsusumikap na itaguyod ang dignidad ng ating bansa ng ating mga magigiting na diplomat at kapwa Filipino. Sana isantabi niyo na muna ang galit niyo sa ating presidente at magkaisa tayo sa malalang problema na uto.

  8. June 4, 2015 at 6:27 am CORECTED

    Pres. Aquino has to stand tall to react to China’s encroachment on Philippine sea, and Japan is the right venue to show it. Your comment is that of a “saling pusa” Filipino mentality

    • Standing tall for what? Phillipines cannot develop these islands in the forseable future. They haven’t even located recoverable resources there.
      Have you seen the price of oil and gas? China has way more shale than the USA and they haven’t started tapping that yet. Let’s not even think about Russia’s.

      More territory and natural resources are being lost to MILF. More Capital resources is being lost through corruption with your politicians buying luxury properties in Miami, London…

  9. I said before, previous presidents followed the counsel of Deng Xiao Peng “TO LET SLEEPING DOG ALONE” and our fishermen were not bothered by China in Scarborough shoal. But when refurbished boat from US christened BRP GREGORIO DEL PILAR arrived Pnoy sent it to Scarborough and harassed the Chinese fishermen. The rest is history and the Filipino fishermen from Zambales are suffering. Our government chose to be adversarial rather than diplomatic in approaching China problem. Of course all all Filipinos must support our claims over west Philippine sea but must we insult China?

  10. Apart from displaying his usual lack of statesmanship, Pnoy aquino forgets that under his watch the philippines remains barbaric, the centre of child trafficking, sex tourism, extra-judicial killings, human rights abuses, and is the most corrupt country in asia. His name will no doubt become a future reference point to mean abuse and mis-management on a grand scale.

    I also doubt he raised the issue of filipino comfort women abused by the japanese, and conveniently forgot that it was his family/grandfather who was a national traitor by helping the japanese in the war. Ironic.

    Pnoy aquino always likes to have a villain to focus upon and deflect from his own failings. He needs to look closer to home.

    Pnoy aquino couldn’t negotiate down a one way street. He should keep his mouth shut rather than open it and make a fool of himself in public. How to lose friends and alienate people.

  11. This is also the same with what our President want about the Passage of BBL Laws. Talk first without thinking . Sign it first without considering the risk even if it violate our constitutions.let the future President carry the burden . No amount of good work that you has achieved already for the country will even be equal if you allowed a Laws to be passed even if knowingly it violate our constitution and put our country sovereignty at risk. May bansang Pilipinas pa ba para sa mga susunod na generasyon ?

  12. P.Akialamiro on

    Tactless, full of bravado and hubris. These describe the acts of Pres. B S Aquino government’s actuations toward the West Philippine Sea issue with China. He was even proud to announce the procurement of 10 speedboarts from Japan using the people’s money.

    He may be coming home ‘bragging’ the highest honors given to him by the Japanese government. Of course, it won’t be that surprise with the kind of money he had to part for those boats which, compared to the Chinese sea power, are nothing. I wonder what are the guidelines to qualify a head of state to receive that honor from the host country. I hope those boats were not acquired to boost the navy of the country against China.

    • Pres. Aquino has to stall tall to react to China’s encroachment on Philippine sea, and Japan is the right venue to show it. Your comment is that of a “saling pusa” Filipino mentality.