Defense of the Republic of the Philippines

General Discussion => General Discussion => Topic started by: adroth on July 15, 2017, 12:58:21 PM

Title: Did the Aquino administration mismanage PH-CN relations?
Post by: adroth on July 15, 2017, 12:58:21 PM
‘Arbitration’ suit vs China a colossal cover-up

THE arbitration case that the Philippines filed against the People’s Republic of China was a colossal cover-up for the bungling by President Aquino and his foreign secretary, Alberto del Rosario, of our territorial dispute that resulted in our losing in 2012 Scarborough Shoal (Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc).

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In the game of the South China Sea disputes, Aquino and del Rosario dropped the Scarborough Shoal ball. The last time we lost a territory in the disputed Spratly area was in 1975, when Vietnam tricked our marines in abandoning Southwest Cay (Pugad island).

Aquino’s administration cunningly shifted the nation’s attention from its monumental blunder by filing in 2013 with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at the Hague the case against China for violating provisions of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (Unclos). The case demonized the superpower as a bully in the region that grabbed Scarborough from us in its expansionist drive.

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Although claimed by us, China, and Taiwan even before World War 2, there had been only occasional symbolic, harmless actions by the parties to claim sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal, all of which were quickly forgotten. There has never been any attempt from both Chinese and Filipino forces there to impose their sovereignty over the shoal. Vessels and fishermen from both countries routinely entered the lagoon usually for refuge from storms, as if there were no dispute over who owned it.

That changed with Aquino. On April 11, Aquino sent the naval warship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, to confront two civilian China Maritime Surveillance ships (CMS, under the State Oceanic Administration) in the shoal that foiled our Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ attempt to arrest Chinese fishermen they claimed were illegally fishing in the area.

Aquino ordered the BRP Gregorio del Pilar to leave the area to get out the next day when he was told of his blunder: by sending a warship, he had militarized the dispute.

Casus belli
But it was too late. It gave the Chinese the casus belli—the justification— to mobilize to completely take over Scarborough. Some 10 CMS ships entered the lagoon, and with them a flotilla of 31 fishing boats and dinghies to portray to their citizens that it was a sea version of people power against a bullying nation that prevented Chinese fishermen from earning a living, and in an area China “owned” for more than a century.

In panic, Aquino ordered two Coast Guard and BFAR vessels to block the entrance to the lagoon. With neither party attacking the other nor leaving, the standoff lasted for more than a month.

Quite unexpectedly and suddenly, on June 5, 2012, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued a two-sentence press statement: “Following our consultations, the two Chinese maritime vessels and our BFAR vessel are no longer in the lagoon. We continue the consultations to address the remaining issues in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough).”

That statement was wrong. While all Philippine vessels left the lagoon, the Chinese vessels remained. We lost Panatag Shoal. China would occupy it to this day with several CMS ships, warning Philippine vessels approaching not to enter the lagoon.

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Title: Re: ‘Arbitration’ suit vs China a colossal cover-up
Post by: adroth on July 15, 2017, 01:12:00 PM
Aquino ordered the BRP Gregorio del Pilar to leave the area to get out the next day when he was told of his blunder: by sending a warship, he had militarized the dispute.

For those who came late . . . a little background

This Philippine Warship Is In A Dangerous Standoff With China
Robert Johnson
Apr. 11, 2012, 9:02 AM    12,935

Just days after a leading Chinese general said the Philippines was facing its "last chance" to resolve disputes in the resource rich South China Sea, the two countries are locked in a potentially violent confrontation.

James Hookway at The Wall Street Journal reports the Philippines' newest and most advanced warship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, sped out to confront two Chinese surveillance vessels in an apparent dispute over fishing rights.

Tensions are already high in the area as China declares rights to suspected oil and gas reserves beneath the sea floor, throughout the region.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario met with Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing and both men restated their governments' position that the Scarborough Shoal where they're facing off is in their own country's territory and neither will stand down.

The Shoal is within a couple hundred miles of the Philippine coast, as shown in the map below.

While both sides say they want to defuse the situation diplomatically, it seems they've reached a sticking point, and neither side is prepared to budge.

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Title: Re: Did the Aquino administration mismanage PH-CN relations?
Post by: adroth on June 12, 2018, 06:30:37 PM
Past admin ‘mismanaged’ West PH Sea dispute — Lorenzana
By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / @FMangosingINQ / 10:26 AM June 11, 2018

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday that the previous administration ‘mismanaged’ the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute amid criticisms that the current government is mishandling the issue.

“We have managed it very well through President’s leadership. Sakin hindi mismanaged ‘yun, ang nag-mismanage ‘yung previous administration kaya nagkagulo dito,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the flag-raising ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo. Lorenzana, however, did not say in particular which “previous administration” he was referring to.

The Duterte administration is facing criticisms for what some people have called defeatist stance and inaction on the dispute. But President Rodrigo Duterte had repeatedly blamed his predecessor, President Benigno S. Aquino III and the United States, over China’s massive military buildup in the disputed waterway that started years ago.

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“Ano ang nadatnan ng Presidente natin nung pumasok? Wala tayong trade with China, ‘yung mga product natin hindi nila binibili. ‘Yung tourists walang pumupunta dito. Hindi tayo nakakapangisda sa Scarborough. ‘Yung ating mga tropa hina-harass nila,” Lorenzana argued.

“Ngayon, we sell our bananas, our tourism nag doble. We can fish there sa Scarborough. Ang mga tropa hindi hina-harass except the isolated (incdient) sa Ayungin. Is that mismanagement?” he added.

However, a video of Chinese Coast Guard boarding fishing boats of Filipino fishermen to take their best catch in Scarborough Shoal circulated last week. The government dismissed the video was “inconclusive.”

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He also reiterated that Mr. Duterte never ordered to stop patrols in the West Philippine Sea as claimed by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano.

“Hindi niya ginawa ‘yun. He did not even hint that we stop patrolling. Regular tayo dyan, ‘yung eroplano natin basta hindi masama ang panahon umiikot ‘yan,” he said.

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Lorenzana said Duterte, who always brings up war when he talks about the sea row, is aware of the other options in the dispute.

“There is diplomacy, ‘yung tinatawag nilang soft power, talking to the Chinese. The President is just shooting the breeze. He’s an intelligent person. He has a deep grasp of the situation,” he said.  /kga

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Title: Re: Did the Aquino administration mismanage PH-CN relations?
Post by: adroth on May 03, 2019, 01:23:52 PM
Learning the Lessons of Scarborough Reef
The crisis tells us a lot about China's intentions—and about what America still needs to do to handle Asia right.
November 21, 2013

by Ely Ratner

National Interest (

On the evening of June 15, 2012, the Philippines conceded a dramatic ten-week standoff to China by withdrawing its maritime vessels from the waters surrounding Scarborough Reef, a group of tiny outcrops 120 miles west of Subic Bay. Like many islands and rocks in the South China Sea, the sovereignty of Scarborough Reef is contested by multiple claimants, in this case China, the Philippines and Taiwan. And although Asian leaders are quick to eschew notions of zero-sum competition, there was no question that Beijing had scored a tactical victory at Manila’s expense by successfully seizing and occupying the disputed area.

The crisis could have led to regional war. Dozens of government vessels and fishing boats were floating in dangerously close proximity to the reef in the context of contested territory and restive publics. But more profoundly, the standoff at Scarborough Reef demonstrated that U.S. efforts to deter Chinese assertiveness were not working. Soon after the Philippines departed the reef, Chinese officials and pundits began speaking of a “Scarborough Model” for exerting regional influence and annexing disputed territories. Inspired by events, leading Chinese scholars are now exploring strategies of “extended coercion” (a play on extended deterrence) through which China could pressure U.S. allies while keeping Washington at bay.

More Chinese coercion in the South China Sea would run counter to U.S. interests. In addition to threatening regional peace and prosperity, it would raise further questions about America’s staying power in Asia and sow serious doubts about the value of partnering with the United States.

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THE crisis was born when a Philippine Navy surveillance plane detected eight Chinese fishing vessels near Scarborough Reef on April 8, 2012. As suspected, they were found with illegal and endangered giant clams, corals and live sharks, in violation of Philippine law. The Philippines then deployed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard cutter, to arrest the fishermen. What the Philippines reconnaissance plane had failed to see, however, was that Chinese maritime-surveillance vessels were also in the area. Despite the fact that the Philippines regularly uses naval vessels for interdiction operations (necessary because of its limited number of combined navy and coast guard ships), the Chinese acted incensed that the Philippines had employed a military vessel for law-enforcement activities.

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Beijing took to economic coercion as well, announcing unprecedented inspections of Philippine bananas that were left to rot on Chinese ports. A widespread travel ban drastically cut the number of Chinese tourists visiting the Philippines.

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