Proposed Bilateral Agreement between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea


Peace Doodle by Kacedilla

Thanks to Society of Honor contributor Micha for inspiring this blog.

Micha characterized players in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, shepherded along by the U.S., as “immature”. Well, he was more elaborate and powerful in his description:

  • ” . . . an immature mankind, polarized and in perpetual war with itself over a minutiae piece of land on the surface of a ‘mote of dust’.”

My thinking in response was to recognize that immaturity in such circumstances exists when neither side is willing or politically able to give of themselves to generate the trust needed to gain the other side’s confidence.

The solution to dispute MUST be:

Give something.

Inspire trust.

So it became readily evident what the Philippines can do to retain a superb relationship with China, avoid having American warships parked in what could be important trading ports, get rid of the heavy breathing of America on Philippine sovereignty, and get on with taking care of her own business without worry or wasted investment in armaments.

Here are the terms of my proposed bilateral agreement with China, called “Joint Agreement between China and the Philippines for Resolution of Disputes in the South China Sea” :

  1. The Philippines will adopt the nomenclature of “the South China Sea” to describe the waters to the west of the Philippines.
  2. China will be granted full mineral extraction rights up to the boundary of her nine-dash line, a demarcation to be set by survey and agreed to by both parties.
  3. That area described by the overlapping intersection of the Chinese nine-dash line and the Philippine 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) shall be jointly accessible by fishermen of both nations following guidelines set by a three-party Joint Marine Oversight Board, which will include representatives from China, the Philippines and a neutral third state agreeable to both parties. The Board will write the rules for resource protection and management, other than mineral rights, which are wholly within the purview of China.
  4. Both parties will have open and unfettered access to travel through or fly over these jointly managed seas.
  5. The Philippines will remove her rusted ship, military troops and armaments from the jointly managed area, including from Pagasa Island (Kalayaan Town). China will remove all military troops and armaments from the jointly managed area.
  6. China will grant the Philippines permanent right to occupy Pagasa Island for civilian purposes (fishing base, residency and sanctuary), and to improve structures on the island for residents and fishermen insofar as this does not change the residential character of the island.
  7. China may install whatever structures are required to drill or mine for minerals in the area insofar as such facilities and activities demonstrate responsible protection of natural marine resources. Neither side will construct any other new facilities within the overlapping area other than as authorized by the Joint Marine Oversight Board.
  8. Both sides will cease patrolling militarily within or over the jointly managed area. However, right of passage of military ships through the area is guaranteed. Civilian coast guard vessels may patrol the area for the specific purposes of ensuring proper care-taking of sea-based natural resources and preventing conflicts among fishermen. Coast guard vessels patrolling in the overlapping area are required to have liaison officers from the other nation aboard.
  9. The Philippines is granted ordinary rights to purchase minerals extracted from the seas near her coastline at the prevailing rates established by China.
  10. China agrees to seek no additional territory beyond the nine-dash line, thereby certifying the national and economic boundaries of the Philippines.
  11. Both parties will explicitly recognize the authority of the international court (ITLOS) to resolve disputes through arbitration. Activities under protest will be suspended immediately pending court action (e.g., should an incident arise where a mining firm is negligent as to care of the environment or if Pagasa Island is altered in a way deemed improper by China).
  12. The Philippines will withdraw its current ITLOS filing when: (a) the location of the nine-dash demarcation line is agreed upon, (b) the language of the agreement is finalized to the satisfaction of both parties, (c) her Congress and President enact a law approving the agreement, and (d) China’s official approval of the agreement is issued by appropriate government authority.

The rationale is very simple. The Philippines has abundant minerals and other sea-based resources around her island territory. She also has ample clean power-generating resources that will enable her electrical producers to phase out use of fossil fuels.

The Philippines will embark on a 20-year program to build clean-energy production by tapping solar, hydro, wave, wind and thermal sources of electricity that are abundant in the Philippines. This investment is much more beneficial than buying armaments and is properly aligned with the constitutional mandate for peace. Furthermore, it is the high road on climate change. It is hypocritical of the Philippines to complain about major global polluters when she is tied so obstinately to fossil fuels herself.

There is absolutely no need for China and the Philippines to fight over minerals in a small part of the ocean surrounding the Philippines. They are minerals that China needs more than the Philippines. Indeed, it is possible to see past the current frictions to a day when the Philippines would grant Chinese warships visitation rights to service at Subic, or establish a Mutual Defense Treaty with China that in many respects makes more sense than a treaty with America.

The proposed bilateral agreement assures free and peaceful access to fishing by both nations under a rules-based approach aimed at preserving natural resources and preventing over-fishing.

  • Both nations give something.
  • Both nations inspire trust.

The attitude should be “Just do it”, not debate who “wins” in the deal. Both nations win. Continue to debate ways to work productively and constructively together  like  . . . well, like mature mankind on our wee mote of dust.

53 Responses to “Proposed Bilateral Agreement between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea”
  1. That’s fair???????

    • Joe America says:

      Well, that’s really my question of you, isn’t it? The blog is a discussion piece, the contributions from visitors the discussion.

      I gather that you think it is not fair. China might like the idea. I don’t know. Would Bayan Muna? I don’t know. That’s why I wrote the blog. There are those who decry war or bluster or fighting or ties with the U.S., and argue for bilateral dialogue. What will bilateral dialogue produce? Something along the lines of what I have proposed, I’d guess. Now, if we can’t get to that point because China won’t accept anything less, and we (the Philippines) won’t accept what I have outlined, then we have to get geared up for a long stand-off, in which no one gets anything, with war just a gunshot away. Better get the war machine cranked up, I’d suggest. Better seal the deal with the U.S. and tell those who are antagonistic toward the deal (Senator Santiago, Bayan Muna, and others) to get on the same team as the overwhelming majority of Filipinos, who gave their view in the Pew Research survey (tomorrow’s blog), and who actually APPRECIATE what the United States does for stability and world peace in the face of way too many thugs.

  2. JM says:

    I strongly oppose this agreement. You might as well call this “proposal” as a surrender. We have already been exercising this so called rights that China will give us before their illegal occupation. The other items will bring this country to a huge disadvantage. What’s going to stop China from backstabbing us when they get what they want? In business, Chinese are well known for using dirty tactics. There must be mutual respect for this to happen. Chinese only respect two types of human: Chinese and White. Are Filipinos either of the two? They will always look down on us.

    “There is absolutely no need for China and the Philippines to fight over minerals in a small part of the ocean surrounding the Philippines. They are minerals that China needs more than the Philippines” – This statement is just so wrong. Example: I need a really fast car but all I can buy is a vios. Then there’s a rich guy who has a sports car but who doesn’t use it. Does it give me the right to take his sports car because I need it more?

    “when neither side is willing or politically able to give of themselves to generate the trust needed to gain the other side’s confidence” – That is what the court is for. The 9-dash claim and ITLOS (follows the law of the sea) are contradicting. The best thing to do is continue with the legal proceedings. UN can’t enforce the decision but the Chinese heavily values their pride and it would be a huge slap on their faces. It will gnaw on them. Who knows, it will be the one that will get them in line.

    • Joe America says:

      Strong case, JM. Thanks. See my remarks to ponchit enrile above.

      I think China will slap the ITLOS decision aside and hold a very angry view toward the Philippines for a long time. China’s path is set, and no nation or court shall stand in the way. Not even consideration or fairness toward other peoples. Not even the well-being of China’s people.

      • JM says:

        Read it. I actually saw Senator Santiago a couple of weeks back but I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to her about US/China. I’ve always disliked people who rally on the streets. They cause traffic and most of the protests are just stupid. I saw some of them when I was still working in Manila and most of them looks uneducated and have no clue on what they are doing there except maybe for the money/free meals. I’ve also read the Pew research a few months ago i think. I was actually surprised that the Philippines is no.1 and not a western country. However, I was dismayed that southeast asian countries have high ratings in regards to the Chinese. ASEAN unity will never happen.

        Generally, Filipinos are pro-US but most of them don’t consider what’s happening in South China Sea as a big deal. They are too busy thinking about their own lives. Not thinking about the impact of this on their own/children’s future. They think I am weird for giving a damn about it. As I’ve said in the past, there must be something drastic (i.e. Chinese killing soldiers stationed in the boat) before they start to hate the Chinese. It’s frustrating that it’s really hard to change their mind but that is what it is. As I’ve mentioned before, once the UN tribunal rules in favor of the Philippines, why won’t the US just take the oil/gas and in exchange pay taxes, and defend the territory. It’s a win win situation.

        • Joe America says:

          That’s interesting that your readout was the same as mine regarding Pew and ASEAN. My concern with Senator Santiago is that her outspoken challenge to the U.S. basing agreement is too outspoken and is something that ought to be carried out behind the scenes lest it project the Philippines as divided, rather like the U.S. Senate Defense Committee engages with Obama’s defense people in the back room so as not to divulge ANYTHING about strategies. Or if the Senator is outspoken, at least it is prefaced by a recognition that the Philippines is being unduly challenged by China and China ought to have no question about Philippine determination to defend her territory and sovereignty, and her probing of the basing agreement is a matter of healthy due diligence. So at least we and China know that she agrees who the culprit here is.

          A lot of the laid back attitude reflect’s the President’s personality, I think. Quiet rather than pulpit pounding. China on the other hand has her spokespeople, her military, and her press all on the same page, portraying the Philippines as a trouble-maker who does not respect China. When exactly the opposite is true. I think quiet is good until the ITLOS court renders its finding, then passive is likely to be taken by China as concession.

          It’s difficult. And China wants it to be so.

  3. chao-wei says:

    I think it’s fair enough per se, and as a bilateral agreement. The Philippines has not even managed to improve the islands clearly within its own territory, so if China sees the use of these islands as bases for drilling and mining, the Philippines should let it, and also receive compensation for that.

    However, there are three problems with this proposal.

    1) The Chinese nine-dash line claim transgresses the national interests not only of the Philippines, but also Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, and (most importantly) Vietnam. A bilateral agreement with China shows that we are ready to disregard our partners in ASEAN on this issue. For me, the main driving force for standing against the nine-dash line claim is because ASEAN nations consider the West Sea an integral part of their jurisdiction. We cannot agree to a bilateral agreement that will endanger our ASEAN partners’ claims as well.

    2) The Chinese moves to enlarge itself in the West Sea are actually a part of a semicircular effort (from Japan and Korea all the way to the Spratlys) to expand in East Asia. A bilateral agreement will not make sure this stops.

    3) There exists a deficit of trust in the East Asian region, felt all around the semicircle I described earlier. Taiwan’s recent demonstrations against the free-trade act with China show that China is trying to do everything to win back this island, even by supporting the bypass of rule of law. Along with the incidents in the West Sea, I guess it will be extremely hard to ignore these and sign a bilateral treaty with China, effectively depending on whether China actually keeps these agreements.

    I therefore still stand for ASEAN action on this. It’s time ASEAN exerted its collective economic pressure on China. If anything, Japan and the US are more than willing to help.

    • Joe America says:

      chao-wei, Very eloquent statement of why the premise of a bilateral agreement is itself faulty. Because we are all operating in that ocean together and an agreement with China would be selling our neighbors down a river that they may not wish to venture into. I very much appreciate the view. It would be nice if ASEAN were less a network of good old Asian boys getting together now and then to make speeches, and more an organization actively working on formulating a unified response to China and other matters of shared interest.

      I’m sorry I did not think of the matter of compensation for the Philippines and get it into the agreement.

      • Joe America says:

        ps, I visited your blog, previously unknown to me, and enjoyed your poetic licenses 🙂 , and all-around good thinking. For other readers:

      • chao-wei says:

        In any case, ASEAN also needs to redefine itself strongly in response to China’s claims, because it has grown to include the Communist nations and Myanmar. Some Vietnamese where I am say that hoping in ASEAN for this case is a bit tricky, since Cambodia proved itself a Chinese ally time and again. But the reactivation of this grouping, along with its ties to important world powers and the former non-aligned nations, might help us and other claimant countries to stand up to China.

        There are other issues China today might be keen on exploiting, such as overseas Chinese presence in Southeast Asia. All the more should a unified response be worked on by ASEAN.

        • Joe America says:

          I guess I just don’t see ASEAN as being a body with a real working capability that can set the views of dissenting minority members aside in favor of principles or acts that defend the greater number of states. It is more like the UN security council, one objection is a veto. Plus, there is not a joint NATO-style fighting force that can oppose oppressive or unruly neighbors. The only promise of a unified stand is if states like Malaysia and Viet Nam establish military alliances with the Philippines and those three states coordinate and unify their military capabilities. I will be reporting on Pew Research results tomorrow. Malaysia’s population has a high regard for China. So I don’t see that kind of alliance happening, either. China is succeeding with her dual-pronged approach of dividing Asian states and firing up the passions of her population against us, the enemy.

  4. Proud Pinoy says:


    History has shown that the “appeasement” of nation-state bullies (Like Nazi Germany or Napoleanic France) never ends up well. The bullying nation will always want more and will continue to take more. Frankly I don’t see Noynoy being the Neville Chamberlain of Asia. Noynoy has more guts and intellect than Chamberlain who seems to be the poster boy of history to what happens to “appeasers”.

    We will fight if we have to fight. The Filipinos are not afraid. The Philippines shall prevail.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, you have hit the nail on the head. Appeasement with an untrustworthy partner has the unfortunate consequence of fueling the opponent’s appetite because thugs translate it as weakness. It is why it is hard to deal with China. Sense does not work, or has not to this point. She twists everything inside out. If you mean “prevail” by locking China into a no-win situation where China cannot drill or dig or rip fish and coral from Philippine seas, that is one thing. If you mean win militarily, then the Philippines should be a lot more purposeful in building a fighting machine. You don’t win wars on Filipino time or happy go lucky planning.

  5. Joe, I’ve been reading you for some time now (quietly, not commenting). I find it hard to believe, given your well-founded admiration of the Aquino administration, that you would support such an agreement. Hmm, is this satirical? An attempt to show the leftists that their anti-American sentiments translate to a pro-Chinese outcome?

    • Joe America says:

      Hi, David. I’m glad you commented, and thanks for reading. The blog is not satirical, but you might go up to the “anonymity” tab above and read the second paragraph. The situation is very complex and it seems to me one either takes the road of appeasement to an untrustworthy partner, China, or recognizes that appeasement can’t really work and accepts the U.S. partnership to form a wall against China. It is hypocritical of the leftists to spout anti-American views and call for dialogue and standing alone if dialogue and standing alone is perceived as weakness by China. I did a sincere effort to try to craft an agreement that might actually work with a trustworthy partner. It is a good faith effort that probably needs some enhancements, but the real problem is that China does not at this time appear to be a willing or trustworthy partner.

      • As I write this reply, there is a lightning rally happening at the US Embassy in Manila. They are protesting this morning as President Obama arrives in Asia for his week long tour of Asia. I would seriously like to know what the leftists would like to see happen? Maybe it’s because I am an American, but I do not think anyone would like the outcome if the US was to pull out of Asia. Joe, I really believe, maybe naively, that the only thing preventing the Chinese from taking over the Ayungin Shoal, is the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines. Do you agree?

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I agree. What is missing is the passion of a rally opposing the small collection of leftists who presume to speak for the entire nation, or a separate rally, huge, expressing appreciation that the United States continues to stand by the Philippines on the occasion of Mr. Obama’s visit. The rabble are allowed to speak for the nation because no one else will rally to speak otherwise.

  6. David Murphy says:

    It seems to me that the underlying assumption of your proposal (surrender?) is that the Chinese government will honor the terms of agreement. Is there any evidence to support this?

    My view is that the integrity and intent of the Chinese government can be judged by their previous and present actions. How well do the Chinese respect the rights of their own citizens? Does jailing political dissidents for long terms, torturing them and then subjecting them to prolonged house arrest constitute respect of individual rights? What about forcing late-term abortions as standard policy? Or do you discount the news of all such occurences?

    How well have the Chinese respected the rights of Tibetan citizens? Was invading their country militarily, killing many who voiced opposition, and then systematically destroying Tibetan culture a sign of their good intentions for the rest of the world?

    What about the rights of the minorities that have been incorporated into the new China? Have you been impressed by the sensitivity and concern demonstrated by the Chinese government for these people?

    Closer to home, how well have the Chinese respected the agreements with the Philippines made in relation to disputed territories? When both countries agreed to remove military forces from the area and cease occupying these areas, the Philippines complied. The Chinese increased their presence. Does that inspire your confidence in their commitment to honor future agreements.

    How well have the Chinese demonstrated their concern for the environment and endangered species? Does their policy in their own country, building and planning for more and more coal-fired plants, polluting their own water, suggest their concern for local and global effects of their actions? Does the documented harvesting of endangered/protected species of fish, turtles, coral, shellfish, under the protection of the Chinese Coast Guard suggest that they will be good stewards of the sea and its resources that you propose to grant them dominion over?

    I am hard-pressed to choose among historical precedents for guidance in this instance. One event that comes to mind is the attempt by Neville Chamberlain and the British government to appease Nazi Germany prior to WWII and secure “peace in our time.” Another is one of the more ignominious features of American history, the US government’s treatment of the native Americans, the American Indians. They inhabited the entire continent but they were overwhelmed militarily or by the sheer number of whites who invaded their homelands. Their real defeat was brought about by their own trust in the commitment of the US government to honor agreements. Shamefully, these agreements were broken repeatedly, and the American Indians for the most part have been reduced to living in poverty in designated areas called “reservations”. Perhaps the people of the Philippines would do well to look to such precedents to see the consequences of dealing with governments who do not honor their commitments.

    To me it is clear that the Chinese tactic in the South China Sea is to make completely unsupported claims to rights to an area that they have no legal right to. The fact that they refuse to submit their claims to arbitration is conclusive evidence that they themselves recognize that their claims are without basis. They hope to win their point by intimidation, by brinksmanship, believing that the legitimate claimants will back down or negotiate away their rights. The fact that you are proposing to grant them most of what they are claiming in order to avoid conflict, “to bring peace in our time”, suggests that the tactic is working.

    On the individual and on the international level, it is critical to evaluate past performance of the person or the country before you establish a long-term relationship. In my estimation, China has demonstrated that its goal is domination and that it will, and is, using all available means to achieve that goal, including reneging on agreements. The Philippines’ best hope is the fragile protection offered by international laws and the entities tasked to enforce them, backed by the military might of the West, primarily the US. i believe the present course is the only one which has a chance of succeeding.

    If the Philippine government should choose to put their trust in the integrity of the Chinese government, I suggest that they confer with the leaders of the American Indians to view the Philippines’ prospects for the future.

    • Joe America says:

      Nicely said, David. That closing paragraph is an arrow, right on target. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    • Joe America says:

      As I reflect further on what you wrote, the thing that stands out is that China has taken no steps at all to show that she is a considerate partner to other Asian nations. She discounts any voice that objects to her claims as offensive, rather than respect them. She touts “bilateral agreement” and takes no steps to advance a proposal. A wayward blogger can do a better job of it than the entire nation, China. Domination is indeed about the only conclusion that makes sense from her real-life deeds and words.

  7. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Thinking out of the box, what about the Spratly Islands as a common ASEAN area, something like Washington DC in federal America? Owned by the ASEAN “federation” (with China as a non-voting member). A new Singapore type of city to be constructed there to become ASEAN’s new capital, partly floating dramatically to anticipate the effects of global warming. Its oil could finance ASEAN’s bureaucracy. A turbo on ASEAN’s needed integration to become an equal player in the new multi-polar world. Where are the creative minds?

    • Joe America says:

      Taking a nap. That would be a cool city. I imagine part of it being underwater, like Atlantis rising. The elevators go down through magnificent seas to reach a subterranean amphitheater where ASEAN representatives meet to concoct ways to make China, who is NOT a non-voting member, get some manners.

  8. edgar lores says:

    1. Sorry, I cannot go beyond item 2.

    2. I can go beyond item 2 if China agrees beforehand that all claimants have the right to draw their own nine-dash lines.

    3. In practical terms, this means that there can be no agreement – bilateral or multilateral – until the international legality of the nine-dash line is established.

    • Joe America says:

      My presumption in writing this was that China will not recognize the ITLOS finding if it invalidates the nine-dash line. We will be where we are today, with an angrier China. The problem is that there is no enforcement mechanism to ITLOS. I’d guess that even ASEAN will not come to the Philippine defense. Other nations simply don’t want to face China’s wrath. The Philippines will be left with two choices: concession or warfare. My intent in writing this was to appease, not China, but those Filipinos who object to allying with the United States. I get the idea that the Philippines is operating on Filipino time, laid back, happy fools, detached from what is really going on here. China, on the other hand, is stoking the passions of her population every way possible, even using tragic airplane crashes to whip up emotions against the darker skinned natives across the seas who behave like savages to the Chinese people.

      • Joe America says:

        Three choices. Sanctions and stepwise separation from China for all commerce. Which the oligarchs won’t buy.

      • edgar lores says:

        1. If ITLOS invalidates the nine-dash line, the more China will have to resort to non-military means rather than military means. It will have no casus belli.

        2. Meantime, in the absence of an ITLOS finding, the present strategy of Manila of (a) pursuing legality and (b) forging alliances is the way to go.
        2.1. Filipinos who object to the strategy think that Beijing will not go to war. They may be right. They may also be wrong as evidenced by Uyghur and Tibet.
        2.2. But the current strategy is not only to ensure that the possibility of war will not occur. It is to prevent bullying from China. This bullying has taken several forms: occupation of the disputed sea territories; dividing ASEAN; stoking their citizens; non-diplomatic language and maneuvers; threats of war; unilateral extension of air rights.

        3. By all means, let people express their opinions. It does not mean we (as a group) have to arrive at a consensus. It simply means we (as individuals) have to examine the arguments. And it means that we (again, as individuals) either accept or reject their arguments and/or conclusions.
        3.1. Perhaps this blog deserved to be written because of the wealth and depth of the responses here. I do not see one response that is favorable to the proposition.
        3.2. Of course, this does not prove that the proposition is necessarily wrong; only that it is untenable. So far.

        4. And has it not been established that, apart from shipping lanes and fishing rights, there is not enough oil and gas to fight over?

        5. If China still has interest after a negative ITLOS finding, it will then be forced to woo the Philippines and other claimants with the same tactics it used with Gloria, that is, offering to provide developmental capital (and labor?), and sharing profits from production.

        6. Didn’t we learn these lessons in kindergarten or even before? Stealing is a no-no; bullying is a no-no; and sharing is a yes-yes.

        • Joe America says:

          1. Yes, if the United States stands with the Philippines.

          2. Agree.

          3. Agree. Untenable if we are to take the well-stated arguments as representative of the general feeling within the Philippines. What is ours is ours is a fair position to take.

          4. I had not heard that.

          5. Or wait a bit and start drilling. ITLOS will be slapped aside.

          6. We did, China did not. In a world of harmony and respect, China would simply say to the Philippines, “if you drill for oil and gas, we will buy what you produce at market rates”. But China would rather steal it. Rather like her rampant theft of industrial secrets. There is a brand of national corruption and abusiveness in play that makes the Philippines look angelic. But it will catch up to her, either internally or externally.

          My 7. If it is ours, and ITLOS confirms that, I personally would take a hard line. My brain can write a circumspect agreement in search of solution. But my heart does not countenance people being overbearing, abusive, and accepting of thievery as a way to run things. Get out of Philippine territory or we will evict you any way we can. I see that passion from a few Filipinos, but not enough.

          • Joe America says:

            Maybe we do need Duterte as President. You know, a podium pounder, fire and brimstone, an energizer, a nation-builder.

            • edgar lores says:

              Duterte, in my book, is a small-time dictator. He has cleaned Davao of drug dealers, Muslim rebels, NPA guerillas by the simple method of dispatching them – extrajudically. He has reduced the speed limit in Davao to 30kph. He offered to kill a rice smuggler, and said he would close Customs if he the won presidential office. He would have to close Congress too. And rewrite the Constitution, erasing all due process rights. He may not be effective against a Goliath like China. He reminds me of a small-town sheriff as depicted by Ernest Borgnine not Gary Cooper. Scary, but not too scary.

              Yeah, maybe, he is exactly what the Philippines needs. 😉

          • edgar lores says:

            4. R.Hiro presented a graph of the oil/gas reserves in the West Philippine Sea. The graph shows some but not a whole lot.


            5. This is the brazen in-your-face Putin scenario. This is where we threaten to pull out our maids. See if they can survive a day without them.

            7. Or leave our maids/yayas as agents-in-place to teach item 6 to their young wards.

            • Joe America says:

              Thanks for the link. I must have been sleeping when that passed by, as it is a rather shocking bit of information. Well, let’s let the Chinese drill test wells and if they turn anything up, then we can chase them out. We’ll just complain incessantly while they are working, but not DO anything until they get a strike. What I find amazing is that the Philippines is sitting on huge piles of cash from drilling off Palawan, but can’t find any place to spend the money (the Mampalaya fund). It has to be spent on energy related projects. Meanwhile, we keep those coal plants roaring.

              Except, of course, when we want to drive up the price of electricity by putting them all up for maintenance at the same time.

              But I fear I turn cynical.

              Yes to 5 but I would sneak in and topple a drilling derrick at night, rather like we used to do to outhouses on Halloween when I was a youngster in the U.S.

              7. Most of our agents are in Hong Kong and as of today all things are hunky dory there.

  9. Micha says:

    Mr. Obama is coming to town but, wonder of wonders, the Spratly’s seems to be off from the agenda in his talks with Mr. Aquino.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I’d guess that Mr. Aquino has half the say in the meeting, and it will be on the agenda, maybe right after they warm up by checking on progress on the Yolanda recovery.

      • R.Hiro says:

        The U.S. has already stated that the U.S. does not consider the Spratly’s issue as falling under the mutual defense treaty. When the MDT was signed the Philippines did not include
        the Spratly’s since the Philippines did not define it as part of her territory.

        • Joe America says:

          Which makes for an interesting point since the defense treaty was signed in 1951, the construct of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under UN laws was put in place in 1982, and the Philippine EEZ does encompass a part of the Spratleys. It is exactly why the point of discussion should be raised with Mr. Obama: to gain clarity of what the U.S. is prepared to do to defend Philippine rights under ITLOS. It is no longer 1951. It seems to me unwise to sign the basing agreement without a clear understanding on this point. Also, if the ITLOS court invalidates China’s claim, and if the Philippines took action to forcefully evict China from her territory, would that be considered “defense” or “offense”. If a robber is in my home, I consider shooting him to be self defense. I would want those matters defined with clarity so that no bad assumptions are made.

          • edgar lores says:

            Reason for the Senate to ratify new agreement so that these “open” items can be closed?

            • Joe America says:

              I don’t believe the Senate needs to ratify the basing agreement, but the Senate’s Defense Committee should have the opportunity to review the agreement and comment in closed session. Only if there is objection, and Executive refuses to adjust to the objection, should it go to the entire Senate. Senator Santiago should have the opportunity to listen and speak . . . and listen . . . and such matters ought not be debated in the front pages. Every effort should be made to have the entire nation on the same page as far as defense is concerned. And if I were President Aquino, I’d have a chat with Bayan Muna reps about their protest activities.

        • Micha says:

          Thanks for the link. Excellent analysis by Mr. Bello.

          • Joe America says:

            I have come to appreciate Walden Bello’s writing as well, and believe he wrote the best critique of the China situation I’ve read in this article:

            But I would disagree with him on two matters. One, the current China policy is hardly one dimensional. It is the opposite, quite elaborate, including the ITLOS filing, an attitude of continued mature comment on China, and not a return of the insulting language the Chinse dish out, a build-up of Philippine arms consistent with financial capacity, a basing agreement with the US that is about as mutually beneficial as an agreement comes, multiple initiatives to work closely with Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Viet Nam, and Australia. What dimension is missing?

            My second objection is that Mr. Bello’s articulate expressions in the Inquirer ring tinny and staged as long as Bayan Muna believes it is also articulate to hold outsized, angry, law-breaking demonstrations aimed at getting what they get: front page treatment and the false representation that the Philippines is angry about the resumption of close ties with America. It plays into China’s hands, and Mr. Bello can obviously figure that out. Yet his party persists in that form of “articulate” protest. Bunch of misbehaving rabble . . . is what his cause appears to be.

            • Micha says:

              I’m not so sure about the dynamics of the Left but it is my understanding that there was a sort of ideological rift among their ranks between leftist Bayan and moderate left Akbayan. Mr. Bello is a partylist representative of the latter and may not have anything to do at all with the rousers.

              • Joe America says:

                Then I’d like to see him separate his argument from the argument of the disobedient. And both groups are wrong if they target their complaints against America. The complaint should be against Mr. Aquino and the protests should be across the street from the Palace, not the American Embassy. Actually, as I re-read Mr. Bello’s article, that is generally what he has done. So I’ll stop making the presumption that he shares advocacy with the disobedient. My only point of disagreement is that he views a tie-in with the U.S. as destabilizing to the Philippines, whereas I see it as stabilizing by keeping China from being even more provocative and providing the kind of security umbrella that will keep investors investing here, and hopefully allow the economy to deepen and flourish.

              • Micha says:

                The leftist phobia of American military base (short term or long term) dates all the way back to the dark period when the US, preferring stability over chaos, supported the oppressive regime of Marcosian kleptocracy.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, true enough, and it proves the point that trust is hard to gain and easily lost. But that particular Marcos is not around today and China is. We ought not penalize the future because we hate the past. ahahahahaha or something like that . . . 🙂

            • hmm, PAF has several medium sized aircraft like the P3 Orion? Is Mr. Bello privy to navy assets because last i checked our medium aircraft are out dated nomads.

  10. R.Hiro says:

    It remains to be seen if Obama will make the same categorical statement in Tokyo reiterating the U.S. commitment to defend Japans territory to include the disputed islands with China whe he visits here.

    Operative word here is territory. We will all wait with anticipation if Obama will do the same here or simply reiterate that the U.S. will defend the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

    • Joe America says:

      I think he will be firm although he is unlikely to name the name of islands in conflict. He will cite the importance of international law and state clearly that the United States will abide by its defense treaty with the Philippines. He will likely also mention the mutual benefits from having enhanced visitation privileges, those being for response to natural disasters and improved coordination on defense. He won’t draw any red lines as to when the U.S. will fight, and he did not draw any in Japan.

      Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 01:59:50 +0000 To:

      • RHiro says:

        From AP news services, “In Tokyo, Obama asserted that a treaty obligating the U.S. to defend Japan would apply if Beijing makes a move on a string of islands in the East China Sea that Japan administers but China also claims.

        “Yet at times, the president has tempered his tough talk in an attempt to avoid antagonizing Beijing.”

        “To the chagrin of the Japanese, Obama said the U.S. would not pick sides in the sovereignty claims at the heart of the region’s territorial disputes. He repeatedly declared that the U.S. is not asking Asian allies to choose between a relationship with Washington and Beijing.”

        U.S. would respond with military force in case of a Chinese attack on the disputed islands. That my dear American friend is a red line drawn.

        • Joe America says:

          Or it could mean “we will apply sanctions until your paper empire folds”. But I agree the message was clear. I think the Philippines will be given strong backing: laws keep us civil and we ought to respect them. And he will say “we will defend the Philippines” but what that means will remain nebulous. As it needs to in order not to provoke the Chinese or embarrass them, and to keep them guessing, too.

  11. RHiro says:

    Obama Asia tour: US-Japan treaty ‘covers disputed islands’ from the BBC

  12. Janice says:

    The question here is will China really abide by a bilateral agreement? And I really mean sincerely abide by it? I’d rather have my stake at the ITLOS than going to a bilateral agreement where the PH will likely end up being duped.

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