Author Topic: A sustainable, whole-nation, “Kobayashi Maru” solution to China’s aggression  (Read 9676 times)

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
This thesis attempts to answer the hotly debated question:

"What is happening to Philippine policy with China and the West Philippine Sea???"

While the defense of the Republic of the Philippines is the focal point for this thesis, there can be no effective discussion about defense if it is narrowly confined to weaponry and military / law enforcement considerations alone.

You can't talk about a birthday cake by focusing on the icing while paying no attention to the underlying cake.

Policies made outside the military sphere define what can be done within that sphere. For that reason, proper understanding of the Duterte administration's approach to the China problem in the West Philippine Sea -- regardless of whether the reader agrees with it or not -- is a precondition for meaningful discussions about Philippine sovereignty.

The best way to read this thesis is to proceed linearly, from start to finish, in the order it was written. However, being 30 pages long, this thread index was created to facilitate navigation. Each sub-topic is given it own summary, thus allowing the reader to jump directly to topics of greater interest.

At the end of the day, the goal of the thesis isn't to advocate any single political point of view. It is merely to understand what the current administration is attempting to do . . .

. . . without the noise of partisan politics.

Once that understanding is achieved, then -- and only then -- can the average Filipino come up with an INFORMED opinion of prevailing policies, and meaningfully argue for OR against these policies.

Quote
"If you can't argue the other side, you aren't entitled to an opinion"

- Anonymous

Section   Sub-Section    Description
Chinese timing                        By 2014, China knew that conditions were right to advance its interests at the expense of its rivals -- and it did.
       United States       The US was in no shape to mount a conventional war. The two wars-without-end in Iraq and Afghanistan had left the US electorate with little appetite for yet another armed conflict.
     Japan       China's shipbuilding spree has eclipsed the Japanese Coast Guard, both in terms of number and size of vessels.
       Australia       . . . struggling to contain China within its own sphere of influence: from Vanuatu to Papua New Guinea.

     ASEAN       While much has been said about Duterte’s refusal to use ASEAN as a venue for protesting Chinese actions in the West Philippine Sea, ASEAN had already been defanged years earlier when Cambodia actively blocked any attempt association statements that would be unfavorable to China. First in 2012, then again in 2016.

The scramble for a PH response                   Open war with China and surrender are invalid options. Justice Antonio Carpio prefers a “third option” that hides behind the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US and diplomacy. But how viable is this option?
Evaluating the 3rd option: UNCLOS

                   The UNCLOS ruling invalidated China’s 9-dashed line. But it did not actually affirm Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea
Evaluating the 3rd option: MDT
                   The US-PH MDT was deliberately crafted so that it would not commit the United States to support the Philippines if it did not agree with Philippine claims. Not all mutual defense treaties are created equal.
       Treaty that created NATO

       The US explicitly guarantees support in the event a member of the NATO alliance is attacked. The commonly held perception is that the  Philippines enjoys the same protection. Careful perusal of the MDT shows otherwise
       Treaty between the US and Japan

       While the US-JP treaty did not guarantee an automatic response, US policy has recognized JP sovreignty over the Senkakus. It is important to understand why the US felt compelled to support Japan
Vietnam’s losses                   Despite being 8th largest importer of weaponry in the world, whose inventory includes everything from Scud medium-range ballistic missiles, modern submarines, frigates,  multi-role fighters, and surface-to-surface missiles, Vietnam is at the very least in a stalemate with China it can’t hope to outlast.

The Philippine strategy under Duterte, in contrast, has its sights on a more favorable outcome.
Indonesian calculations                   In addition to a regionally strong military, Indonesia has a lock on certain critical Chinese exports which China needs, is on the outer edge of China’s claims and is not as important as the Philippines and Vietnam, China officially recognizes Vietnam’s claims.
Defining the parameters of the problem                   A Philippines that defiantly stands up for itself, but lacks, the military strength of Vietnam, the economic resilience and geographical distance of Indonesia, and is dependent on allies that are either threatened by China or are embroiled in other domestic and geopolitical concerns, could very well become low-hanging fruit for a display of Chinese political power. Not so much for international consumption, but for the benefit of the enemy that the Chinese leadership fears most: internal Chinese politics.

The way forward                   War is clearly not an option, for reasons already detailed earlier and as outlined by the President in his speech above. Surrender would violate the constitution, and is therefore an equally invalid option. The ability to hide behind our allies is questionable as is the validity of the opposition’s 3rd option.

Duterte needed a 4th option

The 4th option                   If China were a bully, Option 1 (war) would have started a fight with the bully that could only end with us in either a wheelchair or the grave. Option 2, surrender, would leave us with nothing. Option 3 (Carpio, et. al.) would have us pick a fight with the bully while hiding behind a big, but distracted neighbor that retains the option to go to the movies whenever he wants . . . regardless of our fitness to resort to option 1 when we are left alone.

Option 4 would have the bully wonder why he had to act like a douche bag in the first place . . . and learn to play nice. It would not make the bully go away, but would essentially make him leave us alone. All the while . . . wondering who we would side with if he ever decided to picked a fight with our big neighbor.
       What has been prevented       Fishermen are no longer being water-cannoned away from Panatag. Despite having been occupied since 2012, with island-building campaign gaining momentum, China hasn’t built on anything on Panatag.
       What has already, or is currently, being done

       Photographic evidence points to improvements on garrisons in the KIG that weren’t done in the previous administration
Implementing the 4th option                   
       Step one: Rebooting PH-CN relations

       Implement a variation of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” adage, and flipped the strategy into: “to make a friend of my enemy, make him feel like we have a common enemy". This is why Duterte is openly bad mouthing our allies -- who now actually understand that this is all essentially geopolitical theater as part of a plan to jump-start PH-CN relations.

The administration is banking on the strength of US-PH relationships, as well as of those of its traditional allies, to "absorb" the optics of Duterte's over-selling of its Chinese charm offensive. After all, if it really were possible to undo years of good relations with mere words . . . then those relationships really weren't as strong advertised.

         Step two: Acclimatize China to submitting to Philippine law

     This is about training the dragon to obey commands . . . and setting up test cases to measure compliance.
       Step three: Ongoing cooperation

       China’s greed, not Philippines weapons, will keep China under control.

This would require even greater commercial engagement with China. So much so that it would actually compel China to respect Philippine law and Philippine claims, to avoid jeopardizing these investments. This would flip the tables on China from one where the Philippines feared Chinese embargoes on Philippine goods to one where China will experience "economic pain" should it choose to violate Philippine interests.

Continued build up of Philippine economic defenses

                   A sustainable response to Chinese aggression isn't just about buying weaponry, it is actually about making the Philippines -- as a country -- globally competitive.

This is where the build-build-build initiative comes in: Using the dragon’s own resources to create the financial whip to keep him in line.

Learn from the experiences of Sri Lanka, et. al.

                   This topic outlines how countries fall into China’s debt trap, and how the Philippines actually differs from these in-progress economic disasters.

Pakistan’s gamble

                   85% of Pakistan’s debt is Chinese. But who REALLY has who under control, in light of Pakistan's geopolitical calculation . . . when Pakistan's economic corridor actually starts on their China's equivalent to Mindanao?



Israel & Indonesia: Dancing with a dragon

                   If loans with China are really recipes for disaster, why are Israel and Indonesia taking part in the Belt & Road Initiative?
A winning endgame rather than a strategy for "how not to lose"                   Open war and surrender are unacceptable options. Justice Carpio's preferred "third option" -- which puts all its faith on the US-PH Mutual Defense treaty, without a proper assessment of how that treaty really works -- actually lacks a meaningful end-game, and is prescription for "how not to lose" rather than a proper strategy for winning.

To achieve what Carpio wants to do, Duterte's "4th option" needs to be given the leeway to work. The goal of the 4th option is to give China a incentive to respect Philippine law and obey Philippine instructions. That incentive is based on the threat of financial retaliation -- not military force.

Responding to Chinese aggression                   A thought exercise about how to respond to China in a future conflict
       Trade War (TW)       Punishing China economically
       Military Action (MA)       Understanding what it REALLY takes to have our allies commit to the Philippine cause. Duterte’s “4th option” needs to happen before Carpio’s “3rd option”


====

Related discussion on the forum's FB extension:

The need for a whole-nation response: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rpdefense/permalink/1779935662092273/

Understanding the PH-US MDT: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rpdefense/permalink/1785171944901978/

Indonesian calculations: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rpdefense/permalink/1786940381391801/
« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 11:39:11 AM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Chinese timing

In September 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected a treaty that would have extended the lease of US military facilities in Subic Bay and Clark Air Force base beyond its original expiration date in 1991. As a result, the bases closed sans a proper Philippine plan for how to fill the power vaccuum that the closure created. That set the stage for the contest of national wills between the Philippines and China which began with an aggressive, but ultimately modest, incursion in Mischief Reef in 1995, and has since escalated to a regional land-grab in the form of Beijing’s unprecedented island building campaign.

By 2014, China knew that conditions were right to advance its interests at the expense of its rivals -- and it did.

United States
Japan
Australia
ASEAN

China knew that our most powerful allies were distracted by all the other concerns listed above, and would lack the political will to halt the construction of their artificial islands. As in all things, timing is everything. China timed their territorial power-play well.

When Chinese dredgers started sacrificing precious coral reefs for their island-building project that reclaimed 1,294 hectares of land from the South China Sea, all that an incredulous world could do was watch in awestruck silence. Rival claimants were left with little to do but fume and protest.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:10:53 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
United States



The US was in no shape to mount a conventional war. The two wars-without-end in Iraq and Afghanistan had left the US electorate with little appetite for yet another armed conflict. While the Global War on Terror continues even today, and has even expanded to Africa, these focus on counter-insurgency campaigns -- mounted by special operations forces -- designed to bolster the effectiveness of the armed forces of partner countries. These were not high-profile operations on the scale of either Gulf Wars I or II. In contrast, any direct conflict with China would be.

Domestic challenges associated with sequestration and the 2008 financial crisis arguably gave additional reason to pause and reconsider the wisdom of committing resources for war. Manifestations of the effect of these constraints on US military spending range from the USAF crisis with its fighter readiness, to the cancellation or reduction of big-ticket acquisitions.

Arguably both resulted in an anemic “Pivot to Asia” that left China emboldened.

The timidity of the US -- and NATO -- response to Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014, as well as successful nullification of the UN Security Council in the matter of the Syrian Civil War in 2012 -- by way of a joint Russia-China veto, proved to Beijing that it would be able to challenge international order with little consequence to itself.

While the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States remains relevant, proper acknowledgement of the fact that the MDT does not give the Philippines license to do whatever it wants -- and then expect the US defend it blindly -- is essential to any rational geopolitical calculation.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:11:22 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Japan



Japan remains the US’ strongest ally in the region, and remains the Philippines’ top lender. While it has consistently flexed its muscles in response to Chinese aggression in the Senkaku islands, its engagements in the South China Sea remain focused on beefing up regional coast guards.

But even on the matter of Coast Guard strength, China's shipbuilding spree has eclipsed the Japanese Coast Guard, both in terms of number and size of vessels. Therefore a favorable repeat of a Japanese salvage operation in waters that China claimed to be its own, in 2002, is no longer a certainty. By 2015, China had wrestled the title "largest coast guard cutter" from Japan, when it commissioned the 12,000-ton cutter designated CGC 2901.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:11:43 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Australia



Another regional partner, Australia, is itself struggling to contain China within its own sphere of influence: from Vanuatu to Papua New Guinea. All this while grappling with the fact that China remains one of its most important trading partners.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:12:07 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
ASEAN



ASEAN was not designed effectively engage China in a territorial dispute. First of all, it is not actually a military alliance the way NATO, or even the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), was. By definition, it is an economic and socio-economic alliance.

From: http://asean.org/asean/about-asean/overview/

< Edited >

AIMS AND PURPOSES

As set out in the ASEAN Declaration, the aims and purposes of ASEAN are:

To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations;

To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;

To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields;

< Edited >


It actually lacks any explicit obligation to defend associate member states. If anything, it emphasizes non-interference in each other’s affairs.

Furthermore, it is an association that relies on consensus to accomplish anything.

From: http://asean.org/storage/2012/05/The-ASEAN-Charter-21-th-Reprint-Amended-17-05-2017-1.pdf

CHAPTER VII
DECISION-MAKING

ARTICLE 20
CONSULTATION AND CONSENSUS

1. As a basic principle, decision-making in ASEAN shall be based on consultation and consensus.

2. Where consensus cannot be achieved, the ASEAN Summit may decide how a specific decision can be made.

3. Nothing in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article shall affect the mode of decision-making as contained in the relevant ASEAN legal instruments.

4. In the case of a serious breach of the Charter or non-compliance, the matter shall be referred to the ASEAN Summit for decision.


This makes ASEAN relatively easy for China to neutralize and assure that it does not become a venue for diplomatic opposition to its ambitions. While much has been said about Duterte’s refusal to use ASEAN as a venue for protesting Chinese actions in the West Philippine Sea, ASEAN had already been defanged years earlier when Cambodia actively blocked any attempt association statements that would be unfavorable to China. First in 2012, then again in 2016. Adding further insult to injury, China openly thanked Cambodia for taking its side at ASEAN.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:12:29 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
The scramble for a PH response

As with many democracies, the Philippines is rarely of one-mind on anything. It is, therefore, no surprise that the country is unable to achieve consensus on a solution to the China threat. Debate about how to respond to Chinese aggression has stirred up polarized social discourse rooted in political one upmanship compounded by racial and regional bias.

These us-versus-them discussions are often characterized by “reductio ad absurdum”. Both President Duterte and his opponents are both guilty of this. Oversimplifying the opposing side’s objections to their respective positions.

Duterte, for example, stated in his public pronouncements that his approach is an alternative to open war with China. The vocal opposition, in turn, accused the administration of treason for refusing to vilify China for its territorial encroachment at every opportunity. Both assertions are ultimately fallacious statements meant to compress geopolitical concepts into formats that fit within soundbytes, tweets, and memes. All at the expense of a more comprehensive fact-based understanding of the underlying strategies at play.

The relative weakness of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a conventional conflict is no secret and is a broadly accepted fact. No multi-role fighters. A navy largely composed of WW-II vessels, none if which were armed with missiles. The list of force deficiencies go on. Challenging a regional power, militarily, would be national suicide.

On the other hand, giving up territory to China -- a charge often leveled against the administration by its detractors -- would actually be a crime. When questioned on this matter by  Al Jazeera, Duterte said that any move to surrender territory to China would be an impeachable offense. The President, who is actually a jurist by education, knows this limitation to his power all too well and is arguably not inclined to give his opponents the legal basis to undermine his policies in other spheres of concern.

Neither war nor surrender of territory, therefore, are actually valid options. Alternative options were necessary.

This admission of martial weakness is, arguably, the only point where the President and his critics agree. For everything else, especially the role that the international community -- particularly the Philippines’ traditional allies -- played in Philippine efforts to reclaim lost ground in the WPS, they were in fierce opposition.

The administration’s opponents -- championed by a loose collection of cause-oriented and political groups that included the likes of Justice Antonio Carpio -- prefer a “third option”. One that is merely a continuation of the foreign policies of the Aquino administration.

Aquino adopted a public hardline against China. A stance that saw Aquino likening China’s South China Sea policies with the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany in the 1940s at a public forum in Tokyo. This policy also saw the Philippines filing an arbitration case with UNCLOS to nullify China's nebulous 9-dashed line which forms official narrative for the basis of its claims to the South China Sea.

Although the Philippines brought nothing to the table militarily, they contend that the United States, and traditional partners, could actually fight China on the Philippines’ behalf if asked, or -- at the very least -- bluff China into capitulation with the mere threat of allied force. They often point to the Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States as a shield behind which the Philippines could hide should the Chinese respond in force. Other, more optimistic voices, contend that the MDT actually gives the Philippines license to do whatever it saw fit to do within its territory and in contested waters.

MDT advocates also point to the fact that UNCLOS arbitration ruling, which declared that China’s claim to the South China Sea had no basis in fact, as yet another trump card that could be employed against China. They argue for its use as a legal instrument for forcing China to halt its territorial ambitions, and as a means to galvanize a coalition of nations that would that defend the region from the kelptomaniac dragon.

Proponents of the 3rd option find validation in the actions of both Indonesia and Vietnam who both maintain the same position as the Philippines did during the Aquino administration. They point to these two neighbors as having a found a middle-ground between open hostility and submission. The President’s critics question why the Philippine cannot follow suit.

It is, however, important to flesh out the specifics of this 3rd option.

Evaluating the 3rd option: UNCLOS
Evaluating the 3rd option: MDT

A variation of the “third option” would have the Philippines avoid war, but adopt a public anti-China position that emulates of the vocal Vietnamese and Indonesian stances towards China. Like the Aquino administration that used any bully pulpit available to call out China’s aggression, this variation of the same theme would attempt to build upon the reported momentum that had been built up by the UNCLOS arbitration results that ruled against the validity of China’s 9-dashed line claim.

When considering this alternative, it is important to take stock of how effective this approach actually has been over the past decade. As gratifying as the sight of Vietnamese coast guard vessels ramming Chinese vessels, or Indonesian vessels conducting Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea are to Philippine nationalists, their geopolitical effect -- in the face of Chinese obstinacy -- is actually minimal at best.

Vietnam's losses
Indonesian calculations
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:12:53 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Evaluating the "3rd option": UNCLOS

The cold hard fact about the UNCLOS ruling is that it did not actually grant the Philippines anything. All it did was nullify the 9-dashed line for the benefit of the world at large.

PCA Case No. 2013-19

In the Matter of the South China Sea Arbitration before the Aribitral Tribunal Constituted Under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea
Between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China

https://pca-cpa.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/175/2016/07/PH-CN-20160712-Award.pdf

From page 84 of the document

Quote
5. Exceptions and Limitations to Jurisdiction

161. Finally, the Tribunal examined the subject matter limitations to its jurisdiction set out in Articles 297 and 298 of the Convention. Article 297 automatically limits the jurisdiction a tribunal may exercise over disputes concerning marine scientific research or the living resources of the exclusive economic zone. Article 298 provides for further exceptions from compulsory settlement that a State may activate by declaration for disputes concerning (a) sea boundary delimitations, (b) historic bays and titles, (c) law enforcement activities, and (d) military activities. By declaration on 25 August 2006, China activated all of these exceptions.

The key bit to understand the text above is Article 298, which states

http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_e.pdf

Quote
Article 298

Optional exceptions to applicability of section 2

1. When signing, ratifying or acceding to this Convention or at any time thereafter, a State may, without prejudice to the obligations arising under section 1, declare in writing that it does not accept any one or more of the procedures provided for in section 2 with respect to one or more of the following categories of disputes:

(a) (i) disputes concerning the interpretation or application of articles 15, 74 and 83 relating to sea boundary delimitations, or those involving historic bays or titles,
provided that a State having made such a declaration shall, when such a dispute arises subsequent to the entry into force of this Convention and where no agreement
within a reasonable period of time is reached in negotiations between the parties, at the request of any party to the dispute, accept submission of the matter to conciliation under Annex V, section 2; and provided further that any dispute that necessarily involves the concurrent consideration of any unsettled dispute concerning sovereignty or other rights over continental or insular land territory shall be excluded from such submission;

(ii) after the conciliation commission has presented its report, which shall state the reasons on which it is based, the parties shall negotiate an agreement on the basis of that report; if these negotiations do not result in an agreement, the parties shall, by mutual consent, submit the question to one of the procedures provided for in section 2, unless the parties otherwise agree;

(iii) this subparagraph does not apply to any sea boundary dispute finally settled by an arrangement between the parties, or to any such dispute which is to be settled in accordance with a bilateral or multilateral agreement binding upon those parties;

(b) disputes concerning military activities, including military activities by government vessels and aircraft engaged in non-commercial service, and disputes concerning law
enforcement activities in regard to the exercise of sovereign rights or jurisdiction excluded from the jurisdiction of a court or tribunal under article 297, paragraph 2 or 3;

(c) disputes in respect of which the Security Council of the United Nations is exercising the functions assigned to it by the Charter of the United Nations, unless the Security Council decides to remove the matter from its agenda or calls upon the parties to settle it by the means provided for in this Convention.

2. A State Party which has made a declaration under paragraph 1 may at any time withdraw it, or agree to submit a dispute excluded by such declaration to any procedure specified in this Convention.

3. A State Party which has made a declaration under paragraph 1 shall not be entitled to submit any dispute falling within the excepted category of disputes to any procedure in this Convention as against another State Party, without the consent of that party.

4. If one of the States Parties has made a declaration under paragraph 1(a), any other State Party may submit any dispute falling within an excepted category against the declarant party to the procedure specified in such declaration.

5. A new declaration, or the withdrawal of a declaration, does not in any way affect proceedings pending before a court or tribunal in accordance with this article, unless the parties otherwise agree.

6. Declarations and notices of withdrawal of declarations under this article shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the States Parties.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:13:18 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Evaluating the "3rd option": MDT

A strategy that relies on the MDT is a line of thinking with direct lineage to the ill-fated pre-World War II “War Plan Orange” that was supposed to have sent the US Pacific fleet across the Pacific to repulse an Imperial Japanese attack. As USAFEE forces that retreated to Bataan as part of the plan discovered -- the hard way in April 9, 1942 -- the mere threat of retaliation did not prevent invasion, and the promise of reinforcement could be hampered by other more-pressing concerns. Unfortunately for the defenders of Bataan, the attack on Pearl Harbor had put the United States on the defensive and the security of the continental US had become paramount. They had become expendable.

In addition to keeping the Bataan experience in mind, when weighing the value of the MDT as shield, one must also be mindful of the wording of the treaty and the mechanics for enforcement.

Article 4 and 5 of the US-PH treaty states

ARTICLE IV

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

ARTICLE V

For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

Arguably, faith in the MDT’s use as a shield against China emanates from these two provisions in the treaty. Particularly in the segments that indicate that an attack on the “armed forces, vessels or aircraft” of either party will trigger the MDT.

But how does this treaty ACTUALLY compare with other mutual defense agreements that the US has with its other allies and how is it enforced?

Treaty that created NATO
Treaty between US and Japan

While the JP-US and PH-US mutual defense treaties both lack the automated response provision of the NATO treaty, the US has categorically declared that they recognize Japan’s claims to the Senkakus. The same cannot be said for the KIG.

The discretionary nature of MDT activation, and the lack of overt commitment to defense of the KIG -- both of which represented the status quo long before the current administration came to office -- should give anyone pause when opting to rely on the MDT as a shield against Chinese aggression.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:13:40 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Treaty that created NATO



In the wake of 9-11 attack in New York City, the United States invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, thus paving the way for NATO involvement in Afghanistan. It was the first ever actual use of the treaty and demonstrated its mechanics. This how the NATO treaty laid out its obligation.

Article 5
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

As shown above, Article 5 of the NATO treaty has noteworthy differences with Article V of the US-PH MDT -- notably the use of the term “forthwith” in the stipulation for response to an attack. Unlike the treat with NATO, the MDT with the Philippines, instead, simply described the prescribed response as:

“declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes”.

This difference in wording is arguably the result of the nature of the Soviet threat when the NATO treaty was drafted. Nevertheless, it means that as things stand, the US-PH MDT does not result in an automatic US response to a Chinese attack, as it requires observance of “constitutional processes”

In United States jurisprudence, this would require a declaration of war. An inherently lengthy process that can be expedited depending on the perceived importance of the declaration.

There is, however, an avenue for immediate military action in support of the MDT -- short of a declaration of war -- via executive action as permitted by the US War Powers Resolution of 1973. Under this act, The President of the United States (POTUS) can authorize the use of military forces for a duration of 60 days, with an option to extend by another 30 days, after which congressional authorization would be required for continued operation.

The MDT was written in 1951, at the height of the Cold War and when the Philippines was still host to numerous US military bases. The US needed unfettered access to these facilities, especially in the event of hostilities with the Soviet Union, so a treaty that tied the Philippines and the US to hip was a functional necessity. While post-bases relations with the US has improved in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, culminating in the drafting of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which pseudo-institutionalized US presence in the Philippines as part of the Global War on Terror, the resources the US appears willing to commit to the Philippines is defined by the confines of counter-terrorism needs. For matters outside this scope the US remains unclear.

In summary, triggering of the MDT is not automatic, and requires a political climate in Washington that is receptive to our point of view. This begs the question:

Would the US be willing to go to war over territory that it doesn’t officially consider to be ours?

Would any attempt, on our part, to enforce our claims that then results in China using deadly force on our forces constitute an act of defense . . . or could it be labelled as an offensive action and therefore declared as being out-of-scope for a “defense treaty”?

These are CRITICAL questions to ask because contrary to common perception, not all defense relationships are created equal.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 09:00:31 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Treaty between the US and Japan

Japan and the US have codified their security relationship with their own security treaty. The treaty currently in-effect was ratified in 1960, and replaced the original treaty drafted in 1951. The wording of Article 5 of the US-PH MDT is actually closer in substance to the corresponding article in the Japan-US treaty. Even more so than the NATO treaty.

However, while the form of the treaty has similarities, there is a fundamental difference in official pronouncements about how the US views the Kalayaan Island Group, and how it view’s Japan’s Senkaku islands, which are contest by both China and South Korea.

Compare the stark difference in the US' statements about Chinese aggression with Japan and with their verbage with the Philippines

On Japan on the Senkakus

Quote
Obama: Senkakus Covered Under US-Japan Security Treaty
U.S. President Barack Obama, for the first time, took a side on the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute, backing Japan.
By Ankit Panda
April 24, 2014
     
http://thediplomat.com/2014/04/obama-senkakus-covered-under-us-japan-security-treaty/
 
U.S. President Barack Obama opened his four-country Asia tour with a first stop in Tokyo.

. . .

In an interview ahead of his trip with Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, Obama said that the United States regards the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands as falling under the purview of the U.S.-Japan security treaty and that the United States would oppose any attempt to undermine Japan’s control of the islands. “The policy of the United States is clear—the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands,” Obama stated in the Yomiuri Shimbun.


Mattis: US will defend Japanese islands claimed by China
Brad Lendon-Profile-Image
By Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 2:58 AM ET, Sat February 4, 2017

https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/03/asia/us-defense-secretary-mattis-japan-visit/index.html

(CNN)US Defense Secretary James Mattis on Saturday reaffirmed Washington's commitment to defending Japan, including a group of disputed islands which have been claimed by China.

"I made clear that our long-standing policy on the Senkaku Islands stands -- the US will continue to recognize Japanese administration of the islands and as such Article 5 of the US-Japan Security Treaty applies," Mattis said in a press conference with Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada.

< Edited >

With the Philippines on the otherhand. . .

Quote
Aquino, Obama agree on Spratlys
By: TJ Burgonio / @TJBurgonioINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 01:22 AM November 19, 2011

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/18819/president-aquino-obama-agree-on-spratlys#ixzz4OYAUUOmY

< Edited >

The two leaders squeezed in a 30-minute meeting before noon Friday at the Grand Hyatt Bali hotel on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) annual summit, tackling maritime security, nuclear nonproliferation, disaster and humanitarian relief.

The Philippines is pushing to turn the disputed sea into a zone of peace, freedom, friendship and cooperation, which entails segregating disputed zones to allow free use and joint development of undisputed areas. This was  “noted” by other Asean countries.

Despite the cool response, Philippine officials saw a glimmer of hope, after some of its neighbors manifested the need to move forward with a Declaration of the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea and draw up a “binding set of rules” on the West Philippine Sea.

< Edited >

Paez said that while Obama made no commitment on the Manila proposal, Clinton clearly spelled out the US position  during her Manila visit early this week.

No categorical commitment from US to defend PH in sea row
By: Frances G. Mangosing - @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net / 04:09 PM June 02, 2018

SINGAPORE—US Defense Secretary James Mattis gave no categorical commitment on whether the Philippine-occupied features in the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is covered by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

While the JP-US and PH-US mutual defense treaties both lack the automated response provision of the NATO treaty, the US has categorically declared that they recognize Japan’s claims to the Senkakus. The same cannot be said for the KIG.

The discretionary nature of MDT activation, and the lack of overt commitment to defense of the KIG -- both of which represented the status quo long before the current administration came to office -- should give anyone pause when opting to rely on the MDT as a shield against Chinese aggression.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:14:25 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Administrator's note: This entry has been quoted in the following discussion in the Vietnam section: http://defenseph.net/drp/index.php?topic=4134.0


====


Vietnam’s losses

Like China, the Communist Party of Vietnam -- particularly its Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- maintains a set of pre-programmed responses to perceived affronts to their interests. A protest for every action. While China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea, Vietnam’s response is a statement that describes their claims to be “incontestable”. It is, therefore, no surprise that they’ve taken a vocal stance towards China’s agenda.

But despite the anti-China rhetoric, China actually continues to get its way even in areas actively claimed by Vietnam. Consider the following:

Sansha City, the supposed Chinese capital of the South China Sea, is actually built on a former Vietnamese island in the Paracels

The first large artificial island was built on Fiery Cross Reef, which is the site of a naval battle between China and Vietnam, where 3 Vietnamese transport ships were sunk, and 72 sailors were killed. Chinese construction there is essentially a national affront to the memory of lost Vietnamese lives.



In March 2018, PetroVietnam withdrew an oil drilling contract from Repsol of Spain in response to Chinese threats. This resulted in a $200M loss for the Spanish company.

South China Sea: Vietnam halts drilling after 'China threats'
By Bill Hayton
BBC News
24 July 2017

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40701121

Vietnam has reportedly terminated a gas-drilling expedition in a disputed area of the South China Sea, following strong threats from China.
A source in the south-east Asian oil industry has told the BBC that the company behind the drilling, Repsol of Spain, was ordered to leave the area.
It comes only days after it had confirmed the existence of a major gas field.

Those reports have been corroborated by a Vietnamese diplomatic source.

According to the industry source, Repsol executives were told last week by the government in Hanoi that China had threatened to attack Vietnamese bases in the Spratly Islands if the drilling did not stop.

< Edited >



Repsol asks Vietnam for compensation after drilling project halted
Reuters Staff
MAY 4, 2018

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-repsol-results-vietnam/repsol-asks-vietnam-for-compensation-after-drilling-project-halted-idUSKBN1I517E

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish oil major Repsol is in talks with Vietnam’s state oil company and national authorities over compensation for the suspension of an oil drilling project in the South China Sea, its chief financial officer said on Friday.

Vietnam halted the project in the “Red Emperor” block off its southeastern coast, which is licensed to Repsol, after coming under pressure from China, sources said in March.

< Edited >

In light of the cancellation of the Spanish contract, Russia’s Rosneft has expressed concern about the fate of its own drilling contract off the coast of Vietnam.

Rosneft says South China Sea drilling is within Vietnam waters
Reuters Staff

https://www.reuters.com/article/rosneft-vietnam-southchinasea/rosneft-says-south-china-sea-drilling-is-within-vietnam-waters-idUSL3N1SO39Z

HANOI, May 17 (Reuters) - Drilling in the South China Sea by Rosneft is within Vietnamese territorial waters, the Russian state oil firm said in a statement on Thursday, two days after its Vietnamese subsidiary began drilling in Vietnamese waters claimed by China.

Rosneft’s local unit, Rosneft Vietnam BV, is concerned that its recent drilling in an area of the South China Sea that falls within China’s “nine-dash line” could upset Beijing, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Wednesday.

“Offshore license areas of Rosneft on the South China Sea are situated within the territorial waters of Vietnam,” Rosneft said in its statement.

< Edited >



======


EXCLUSIVE-Vietnam unit of Russia's Rosneft fears Beijing backlash over South China Sea drilling
By James Pearson
Reuters

https://www.compuserve.com/politics/story/0002/20180517/M1L3N1SN56V_1735131997

* Rosneft announces drilling in Vietnam's Block 06.1 on Tuesday

* Block is in area outlined by China's nine-dash line-consultant

* That line lays claim to much of the South China Sea

* Vietnam previously halted project by Repsol in a nearby block

* Rosneft Vietnam did not want publicity for drilling-sources

HANOI, May 17 (Reuters) - Rosneft Vietnam BV, a unit of Russian state oil firm Rosneft, is concerned that its recent drilling in an area of the South China Sea that is claimed by China could upset Beijing, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Wednesday.

Rosneft said on Tuesday its Vietnamese unit had started drilling at the LD-3P well, part of the Lan Do "Red Orchid" offshore gas field in Block 06.1, 370 kms (230 miles) southeast of Vietnam.

The block is "within the area outlined by China's nine-dash line," according to energy consultancy and research firm Wood Mackenzie.

< Edited >

In March, Vietnam halted an oil drilling project in the nearby "Red Emperor" block following pressure from China, sources told Reuters.

< Edited >

Fearing repercussions and pressure from China, Rosneft Vietnam had wanted to begin drilling with as little attention as possible, despite the statement by its parent company on Tuesday, the sources said.

< Edited >

The drilling is significant for Vietnam, which has been struggling to maintain its crude oil and gas output amid already declining production from its key fields and the continuing pressure from China in the disputed waters.

In April, Vietnam's state oil firm PetroVietnam said that maritime tensions with China will hurt its offshore exploration and production activities this year.

< Edited >

Despite being 8th largest importer of weaponry in the world, whose inventory includes everything from Scud medium-range ballistic missiles . . .

From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1iqatRTVXs



. . . modern submarines . . .



Lễ hạ thuỷ tàu kilo. Ảnh: TTXVN.

. . . frigates . . .

Gepard class frigate (Gepard 3.9 type)


From NavyRecognition

The Gepard-3.9 frigates are designated to search, trace and fight surface, underwater and air targets of the adversary, carry out escort operations, patrol and protect maritime state border and exclusive economic zone.

. . .  multi-role fighters, . . .

Phu Dong
Published on Apr 17, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXbt8y28EhU



. . . and surface-to-surface missiles, Vietnam is at the very least in a stalemate with China it can’t hope to outlast.



The Philippine strategy under Duterte, in contrast, has its sights on a more favorable outcome.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 04:04:02 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Indonesian calculations

Another country with which Philippine policies have been compared -- unfavorably -- is Indonesia. In contrast to Duterte’s strategy of conciliatory engagement, Indonesia’s Joko Widodo has opted for a open resistance, punctuated by a cabinet meeting off the Natuna islands. It was a clear, public, rebuff of Chinese claims to the Indonesian portion of the South China Sea.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo stands on the deck of the Indonesian Navy ship KRI Imam Bonjol after chairing a limited cabinet meeting in the waters of Natuna Islands, Riau Islands province, Indonesia June 23, 2016 in this photo provided by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Setpres - Krishadiyanto/ via REUTERS



While the geopolitical position that Indonesia carved for itself appears appealing at first glance, the nature of that position must be thoroughly understood before it is replicated. Despite the obvious nationalistic appeal of a President sailing into waters that China claims as it own, it is critical to understand the Indonesian calculation that made this display worth-the-risk. Without that understanding, mounting a Philippine equivalent to this exercise would be putting the cart before the horse.

Arguably, central to that calculation is the fact that Indonesia is the largest economy in South East Asia. Even China felt the sting of that power in 2014 when Indonesia adopted a nationalist export policy that forbade the export of raw mineral ore. This act, -- designed to stimulate development of in-country ore processing capability -- had a detrimental effect on a Chinese economy that was heavily dependent on Indonesian Nickel imports. Nickel is used to make stainless steel, and China sourced half of its Nickel requirements from Indonesia.

Coupled to this economic engine is a significant conventional-warfare-capable military that was well suited for projecting power over its maritime approaches. The Indonesian submarine force, for example, is the oldest organization of its type in South East Asia, and is an advantage that the Indonesian Navy is keen to maintain.

The Indonesian Navy's first Type 209/1400 submarine, pictured at its launching ceremony on 24 March in Okpo. Source: DSME

A vibrant domestic military shipbuilding industry not only supplies Jakarta’s navy with ships ranging from missile armed frigates to amphibious assault ships, but also caters to the demands of the export market, to include the Philippine Navy.

C/o Agus Utomo at the forum's FB extension: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rpdefense/permalink/1300572960028548/



The Indonesian Air Force, for its part, retains a potent mix if Western and Russian fighter aircraft that form the cutting edge of a force that is thoroughly modern, sophisticated, and is also embargo proof. If one block of suppliers withholds logistical support, the other block benefits from the shift in focus.


A pilot from the USAF&#8217;s 514th Flight Test Squadron makes a high-speed pass in an Indonesian F-16C Fighting Falcon during a functional check flight in November, at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The jet is the last of 24 F-16s to be delivered to the Indonesian Air Force as part of an acquisition agreement approved by the US government. (US Air Force)

The third variable in this equation, one that puts the first two in the proper perspective is the nature of China's claims against Indonesia. China has already publicly announced that it recognizes Indonesian sovereignty over the Natuna islands — which is on the outer edge of China’s tongue-shaped 9-dashed line claim. The sole point of contention is Beijing’s insistence in the existence of overlapping claims betweens the ill-defined 9-dashed line and Indonesia’s EEZ. A claim that Jakarta has definitively rejected.



The two earlier advantages, combined with the fact that China -- as of writing -- is not on the verge of occupying any particular Indonesian island or atoll, gives Indonesia the geopolitical flexibility that both the Philippines and Vietnam lack.

The gravity of Sino-Indo tensions is arguably nowhere near as tense as those between China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The Indonesian Foreign Ministry has defined their China-problem as merely a law enforcement matter. Given the Natuna islands’ location relative to the Philippine and Vietnamese claims, it is easy to understand why Indonesia would not expect to be as high on China’s priority list as either Manila or Hanoi.

However, despite its relatively strong defensive position towards China, Indonesia still recognizes the value of engagement with China. In the wake of the Nickel ban meant to stimulate domestic industries, Chinese companies actually answered the call to build the facilities to achieve the Indonesian government’s ends. Indonesia is also poised to enter into “Silk Road” initiative projects with China worth $23.3B.

Unlike Philippine nationalists, Indonesia understands that China is not merely a phenomenon that will disappear when ignored. It is here to stay. As Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Panjaitan explained:

< Edited >

"We must be smart (as) all (countries are eying opportunities). It is a matter of being smart to eye opportunities to derive more benefits," he pointed out.

< Edited >
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 10:00:17 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
Defining the parameters of the problem

The Philippine Constitution describes what is at stake in the pseudo-war with China.

From: http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/constitutions/1987-constitution/

ARTICLE I

National Territory

The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial, and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines.

As with any properly drafted constitution, Article I does not actually layout the specifics of the boundaries of Philippine territory. Responsibility for those specifics has been given to the Legislative branch.

From: http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/constitutions/1987-constitution/

ARTICLE VI

The Legislative Department

SECTION 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.

Congress performed its duty to define the country’s boundaries when it passed Republic Act 9522, which defined the archipelagic baseline of the territorial sea of the Philippines.

Republic Act No. 9522             March 10, 2009

AN ACT TO AMEND CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3046, AS AMENDED BY REPUBLIC ACT NO. 5446, TO DEFINE THE ARCHIPELAGIC BASELINE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::

Section 1. Section 1 of Republic Act No. 3046, entitled "An Act to Define the Baselines of the Territorial Sea of the Philippines", as amended by Section 1 of Republic Act No. 5446, is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 1. The baselines of the Philippines archipelago are hereby defined and described specifically as follows:

Basepoint Number

This law, in turn, was written in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Philippines alignment with the United Nations Convention on the Laws Of the Sea (UNCLOS)

From: http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/part2.htm

SECTION 2. LIMITS OF THE TERRITORIAL SEA


Article

Breadth of the territorial sea

Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.

The references above provide the official, legal, basis for the Philippines’ territorial claims. They are not only noteworthy for what is written in the letter of the law . . . but also for what is not codified in the document. While the law is very clear about what belongs to the Philippines, and therefore what the Philippines cannot part with, it is actually silent about how protection of such territory is implemented.

The power to enforce laws and protect Philippine sovereignty is not given to Congress and its committees that produce a never-ending series of hearings-in-aid-of-legislation. That power also does not reside in the hand of jurists who, as private citizens enjoying their rights to free speech, choose to air their personal opinions about how laws ought to be implemented. This power is the sole responsibility -- and burden -- of the Executive department.

From: http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/constitutions/1987-constitution/

ARTICLE VII

Executive Department

SECTION 1. The executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines.

At the end of the day . . . how the Philippines implements foreign policy is the purview of the Executive.

Upon assuming office, the Duterte administration assumed responsibility for dealing with an agitated foreign dragon. The international rebuff of China’s policies by the UNCLOS tribunal was a blow to Chinese prestige. A blow at a time when the Chinese President, Xi Jin Ping was grapling with his own domestic political agenda that culminated in numerous high-profile prosecutions and/or imprisonment of retired generals, as well as a powerplay that abolished term limits for his office.

While political reversals could spell the end of an administration in a Philippine setting, the consequences could be more significant for authoritarian regimes like China. In a system of government where legitimacy does not stem from consent of the governed -- as it is in a democratic system -- but rather from the perceived raw power of a central authority, perceptions of weakness are intolerable.

Therefore, a Philippines that defiantly stands up for itself, but lacks . . .

. . . the military strength of Vietnam . . .

. . . the economic resilience and geographical distance of Indonesia . . .

. . . and is dependent on allies that are either threatened by China or are embroiled in other domestic and geopolitical concerns . . .

. . . could very well become low-hanging fruit for a display of Chinese political power. Not so much for international consumption, but for the benefit of the enemy that the Chinese leadership fears most: internal Chinese politics.

Panatag Shoal, also referred to as “Scarborough Shoal” or “Bajo Masinloc’, has already been under virtual Chinese control since 2012 -- thanks, in no small part to a miscalculation during the previous administration. This involved a maritime law enforcement engagement by the BRP Gregorio del Pilar at the shoal. The use of the Philippine Navy flagship in the incident introduced a military vessel into what had been hitherto a purely coast guard affair and threatened to draw-in a military response from China. This, and the subsequent withdrawal from Scarborough by all Philippine forces -- both Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard -- without a corresponding withdrawal by Chinese forces, created the situation that Secretary of National Defense Lorenzana described as “mismanagement”.

The cold hard truth that the Duterte administration faced was that there is virtually nothing that actually prevents China from continuing its island building campaign on the shoal at our expense. In fact, such a move could remind Xi Jinping’s opponents of his ability, and willingness, to wield power.

While Duterte’s usual rhetoric equates a Chinese response to a Philippine protest with military action, this is arguably hyperbole to simplify the message for the average Filipino. In reality, China does not even need to engage in an actual shooting war to wield power over the Philippines. It could achieve the same effect by simply holding the Philippine economy hostage.

According to data compiled by the Philippine Statistics Authority, China, combined with Hong Kong, account for 24.5% of all Philippine exports, and 18.8% of Philippine imports. More than any other country, including either Japan and the US.

From: https://psa.gov.ph/content/highlights-philippine-export-and-import-statistics-june-2017



China demonstrated their willingness to use exports as a means to express its displeasure at the Philippines during the PH-CN Banana War. The Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association first sounded the alarm about China’s actions in 2012. Between 2014 and 2016, exports of the product to China dropped from $300M to under $100M.

At the start of the Duterte administration in May 2016, the Philippines launched a charm offensive aimed at reducing PH-CN tensions. What followed was a dramatic rise in banana imports. The war was over.

The relative brevity of that engagement meant that China wasn’t given reason to apply its influence over a broader swath of the Philippine economy. Nevertheless, the point had already been made. The potential for consequences was clearly there. The global nature of China’s economic reach meant that it could theoretically bleed the Philippines dry, by directing its export and import needs to other countries that were be all-too willing to increase their share of the Chinese market. Indonesia witnessed the latter when it withheld Nickel ore exports from China, and the dragon easily found replacements, discussed earlier in this article, and has since reversed its ban.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:15:27 PM by adroth »

adroth

  • Administrator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6628
    • View Profile
    • The ADROTH Project
The way forward

The President has never been known as a gifted orator. Something that his supporters point to as proof of his authenticity, while critics his have, thus far, not been able to see past. Duterte’s penchant for impromptu discussions and Visayan-style hyperbole don’t lend themselves to consistent and accurate reporting in the media, and have thus created a perception of policy flip-flopping.

But the core elements of the Preisdent’s policies, towards China and others, have remained consistent. The President reinforced this recently — in his characteristically broken, Visayan-structured, speech — during the Philippine Navy’s 120th anniversary.

From: https://pcoo.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/20180522-Speech_of_President_Rodrigo_Roa_Duterte_during_the_120th_Philippine_Navy_Anniversary.pdf

Quote
"Ladies and gentlemen, I would have wanted to share with you my insights in the matter of the West Philippine Sea, its dynamics and, of course, the implication of geopolitics. But for lack of material time, I may do it some other venue which I think you‟d be more comfortable to wait and listen to the policy.

It has something to do with my desire to defend but at the same time not to make any move that would be destructive to the nation. I cannot afford at this time to go to war. I cannot go into a battle which I cannot win and it would only result in the destruction and
probably a lot of losses for our Armed Forces.

Ako gusto ko, I really want to do something to assert. But you know, when I assumed the presidency, there was already this ruckus in the West Philippine Sea. It used to be China Sea.

And because in my simple calculation, in every common sense that‟s available to me, I would have taken a stronger but probably a more violent way of doing it. And I said in my own estimation, it would be a great loss to the nation and probably end up losing a war. And all of these things I have wanted to made known to you and whether you accept it or not, that is the reality on the ground.

It‟s geopolitics. You well know what are at stake. I cannot rely just on one nation and country to defend us and maybe to help us in our hour of need"

War is clearly not an option, for reasons already detailed earlier and as outlined by the President in his speech above. Surrender would violate the constitution, and is therefore an equally invalid option. The ability to hide behind our allies is questionable as is the validity of the opposition’s 3rd option.

Duterte needed a 4th option.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:15:49 PM by adroth »