No one is asking for war with China. It has been a friend of the Philippines for centuries, far longer than this country has had ties with the colonial powers. President Duterte has correctly nurtured that friendship, drawing on strong cultural, economic and even blood ties between Filipinos and Chinese.
Being friends, it should be easier for the Philippines to persuade China to act like a good neighbor and regional leader, by showing respect for each country’s sovereign rights based on international rules. Going to the United Nations for international arbitration was the peaceful way to go for the Philippines, a developing country with one of the weakest armed forces in the region, to define its maritime entitlements.
The Netherlands-based Permanent Arbitration Court went one step further, not only granting the Philippines sovereign rights over specific areas in its surrounding waters, but also invalidating China’s entire claim over nearly all of the South China Sea. The Philippines, being the initiator of the arbitration, should lead the international community in pursuing compliance with the court ruling. Instead the Philippine government is doing the opposite, treating its court victory like a hot potato that should be dropped or tossed back to The Hague.
Beijing, whose rapid economic growth started when it opened up to the world, has shown readiness to behave like a responsible global player. It cracked down on its companies manufacturing cheap knockoffs of world-renowned designer brands as well as on intellectual property pirates. It dealt harshly with local manufacturers who laced export products for human and animal consumption with melamine.
Now its touted peaceful rise is being blown apart by its island-building and militarization of waters that a UN-backed arbitration court has declared does not belong to the Chinese. Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, China also has sovereign rights and maritime entitlements over certain areas in disputed waters. But the arbitral court has already spoken and delineated the Philippines’ maritime sovereign rights, and the country must assert this.
President Duterte has gone out of his way to mend fences with Beijing after its defeat in the arbitration court. Being China’s friend, he is in the best position to remind Beijing that everyone must play by international rules. China can flex its muscles without raising tension in its neighborhood.(The Philippine Star) – May 22, 2018 – 12:00am
ASEANEWS EDITORIAL CARTOONS:.
7.1. The Daily Tribune – One step at a time
7.2 The Manila Bulletin – Protect teachers from excessive pay deductions
7.3. The Manila Standard – Weeding out
7.5. The Philippine Daily Inquirer – The Marcoses of Malaysia
7. Pinatakbo para makakurakot – Pilipino Star Ngayon— -Ankol-Man!–
8.1. For The Straits Times – How hoarding crowds out family members
Chong Siow Ann
Professor Chong Siow Ann, a psychiatrist, is vice-chairman of the medical board (research) at the Institute of Mental Health.
VEERA PRATEEPCHAIKUL FORMER EDITOR
– The Bangkok Post