Aquino to US: Speak up on West PH Sea


Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III reviews his papers during the 15th ASEAN Japan Summit at the Champa Room, 3rd Floor, Peace Palace on Monday (November 19, 2012) at the sidelines of the 21st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits. Gil Nartea / Malacañang Photo Bureau

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia–– As the show of unity among Southeast Asian leaders appeared to crumble over differences in the approach to South China Sea (West Philippine Sea)  tensions, President Aquino pointedly asked the United States on Monday to be involved in the discussions, a move likely to anger China.

“It is especially vital to have the world’s largest national economy involved in the discussions considering the interconnectedness of our current milieu,” he told an audience that included US President Barack Obama and fellow leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Aquino’s call came at a particularly sensitive time during the 21st Asean Summit and related summits here after he openly rebuked host Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen for saying a consensus had been reached not to internationalize the issue.

He said the Philippines and another country, later identified in news reports as Vietnam, did not agree to exclude other parties from the negotiations with China for a solution to the raft of territorial disputes in the South China Sea, a portion of which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.

China has long insisted that the disputes should be resolved through bilateral or country-to-country talks and opposed the involvement of external parties such as the United States, while the Philippines has pushed for a multilateral solution.

Addressing the 4th Asean-US Leaders Meeting, one of the side summits here, Mr. Aquino said the United States, the Philippines’ most important ally, had a role to play in the discussions, especially in light of its touted “pivot” to the Pacific to check China’s growing military assertiveness.

“Each one of our nations has a stake in the stability of Southeast Asia. The United States understands this and, for this reason, has chosen to work with us to ensure the peace and continuous advancement of our region,” he said.

Aquino said the US presence at the Asean summits “adds a special dimension to our regional discussions particularly on issues that have far-reaching political and economic implications.”

“Our region is very diverse and its harmony can easily be disrupted by sheer political, military, or economic might. Imbalance, as we know, may lead to instability,” he said.

“While we are all aware that the US does not take sides in disputes, they do have a strategic stake in the freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Mr. Aquino said.

He then proceeded to lay out the Philippine position that territorial and maritime disputes should be settled peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law.

“We continue to support the further inclusion of economies active in the region in these discussions. They serve to expand our capacities as an organization and they will certainly accelerate our progress in the pursuit of shared prosperity for the region,” he said.

Later in the evening, during a briefing for Philippine media at Sofitel, where Mr. Aquino was billeted, the President said the US, as the biggest economy, should not be left out of the talks considering its own stakes in the region.

“We recognize that they also have a right to say their piece and to be active in advancing also their interests. We have long said that if it’s a multilateral problem, you can’t have a bilateral solution,” he said.

Earlier on Monday, Aquino made a terse interjection as Hun Sen was bringing another side meeting, the 4th Asean-Japan Summit, to a close, in which, while summarizing the proceedings, the Cambodian leader said there was now Asean consensus to keep negotiations within an “Asean-China framework.”

At that point, the Philippine president raised his hand to object. “The Asean route is not the only route for us,” he said. Mr. Aquino said the Philippines, as a sovereign state, had the right to defend its national interest.

But in the media briefing, he said that besides Hun Sen’s statement about not internationalizing the issue, he had no other complaints against the host Cambodia, a close China ally.

“They allowed me to keep talking. I have no complaints. Actually (Hun Sen) even apologized when he did not immediately see me raising my hand…. They did not try to block what I wanted to say. There were no behind-the-scenes request for me to keep quiet,” he said.

Relations between Cambodia and the Philippines turned frosty after an Asean foreign ministers meeting in July when they tussled over the language of a customary joint communique that was supposed to be issued at the end of the talks.

Phnom Penh, the host of the 2012 summits, including the foreign ministers meeting in July, came under criticism when it rejected any mention of disputes of individual Asean states with Beijing, particularly Scarborough Shoal, which was then at the center of a maritime standoff between Manila and Beijing in the West Philippine Sea.

The deadlock stymied the issuance of a joint communique at the close of the meeting, the first time in Asean’s 45-year history, and critics alleged that Cambodia was acting under pressure from China, which did not want any references to the territorial disputes in the statement.

Asean members Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia, along with Taiwan, have overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea,  while China claims virtually the whole body of water as its own, often sparking maritime tensions.

The South China Sea is believed to hold vast deposits of oil and gas and is home to sea lanes through which half of global trade passes.

In April, a standoff that lasted months occurred between Chinese and Filipino forces over the disputed Scarborough shoal off Zambales province.

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  • Mark

    This strategy is proving to be fruitless.  Time to rethink.  If I were PNoy I’ll better strengthen ties with India, SKor and Japan.

    ASEAN nations are a bunch of cowards against China.  But India and Japan are not.  

    • Kaizensigma

      ASEAN nations allied to China are acting according to their own selfish interest for the benefit of their own people. Don’t expect them to play your cards unless you have better offer for them. That is the sad reality of the game of international politics and diplomacy. Why should they root for PHL unless you have a better offer on the table? They are just being practical when PHL is being naive. It is not right to judge them just because they are not seeing through your side of the fence. What right do you have to judge them critically when you yourself kowtow to your colonial masters? How can they ignore the giant within their midst that is now the 2nd largest economy in the world and positioned to become #1 in less than a decade. These countries are just exercising due diligence. They have learned to be shrewd among the giants. They know they cannot control events that are unfolding in the new world order when China will become the dominant economic and military power in the pacific. But they know they can control their destiny and not be rendered irrelevant by playing their cards correctly. Japan is already yesterday’s story and a fading power. It is mired in economic stagnation, its lost decade, aging population and massive trade imbalance and fiscal deficits. India shares a border with China and will act according to its interest. Yes it is time to rethink the PHL Sino relationship and strategy lest it becomes irrelevant in the coming new world order.       

      • Raul

        No country are allied militarily with China because they were all idiot and stupid. China cannot be trusted in terms of anything. China are triple standard country they don’t respect any kind of agreement. 45 million Chinese killed, Million of Tibetans and Uighurs are cleaned to death.

      • Kaizensigma

        According to Sun Tzu’s Art of War “The best battle is the battle that is won without being fought”. China does not need military alliances to win, it only needs to fight its battle in stealth through shrewd diplomacy and economic strategies. What you are seeing unfolding in the ASEAN events is the manifestation of  the application of this ancient tactic. Action speaks louder than bellicose chants. Read up and be informed, learn from the ancient sage. This time we’ll called it checkmate, buddy!   

      • Mao Mao Chamn


        Our late dear leader Bruce Lee once said “Ask not what china can do for you.  Ask what you can do to China”  Raul was right and his comments were spot on.  Our motherland engages in “salami tactic” of occupying territories belonging to sovereign states like Tibet, Japan, Vietnam, Filipin, Malaysia, Brunei, and Russia. War with our motherland is very easy. For sure, our country will lose the war. But dont worry, we are not going to lose the country. We will only lose the clique of communist gangster in the Politburo. Once the dust of war settled, there will be an everlasting peace in this world. Koumintang of Taiwan will rule the whole of China and Beijing.

      • Kaizensigma

        China does NOT have to resort to military means to win the battle. It will hit you before you even know it through other stealth avenues including covert economic and diplomatic tactics. You are already seeing this at the recent ASEAN  conference where the PHL was isolated and rebuked even from its supposedly staunch ally the USA. The best battle is won without firing a single shot. It just hit you with a ton of brick without you knowing it and leave you dazed and confused!   BTW, is everybody in the habit of plagiarizing just like your Sotto? Your cannibalizing and degrading of JFK’s famous inaugural address quote is plain shameless and blatant plagiarizing.

      • observer1356

        HA HA HA HA .. hilariously true!  nice expressions with similarities to what many say as plagiarism but which is not… you gave humor to the otherwise serious arguments here. he he he. you got me again… i ‘liked’ your reply.

      • Mao Mao Chamn

        You said: 

        “China does NOT have to resort to military means to win the battle. It will hit you before you even know it through other stealth avenues including covert economic and diplomatic tactics. You are already seeing this at the recent ASEAN  conference where the PHL was isolated and rebuked even from its supposedly staunch ally the USA. The best battle is won without firing a single shot. It just hit you with a ton of brick without you knowing it and leave you dazed and confused!   BTW, is everybody in the habit of plagiarizing just like your Sotto? Your cannibalizing and degrading of JFK’s famous inaugural address quote is plain shameless and blatant plagiarizing”

        Your response is rubbish and garbage.  There are no stealth avenues here.  Very obvious that our motherland engages in economic retaliation.  Just look back at what our fellow han chinese did to the Japanese expat in our motherland just recently.  The atrocities committed by our government against the Japanese in the recent riot were mind-boggling.  The whole world knows that we resort to economic arm twisting when our motherland is on tantrum mode.  The “banana” issue also hit the Filipin.  Everything that our motherland does is obvious Kaizensigma.  Everything.  

        On the issue that the Filipin is “isolated” only proves that han chinese like me is totally oblivious on what is happening in this part of the world.  Our motherland has caused this trouble.  This is the reason why I am a proud han chinese because I am already a “detoxified” han chinese.  The opium is now gone in my system, in my DNA and in my physique.  However, the opium is still part of most of our people’s DNA, hence this nazi type agressiveness in the West Filipin Sea.

        On the issue of Sotto.  Not sure who Sotto is.  If he is a chinese, then no wonder he plagiarized because we, as han chinese, are expert in deceptive trade practices, intellectual property rights violation, and economic sabotage all over the world.  Remember Huawei and ZTE in the USA?  that said it all. The whole world knows that Nortel, a Canadian company, went bankrupt because all its intellectual properties were siphoned off and sent via “beaconing method” of huawei routers.  

        As a han chinese, I am fully aware of the “Thirty Six Strategems” (see wikipedia) where at Chapter 3 under “Attacking Strategems” gives this strategy of “Borrow a corpse to ressurect the soul” in which it tells us to “Take an institution, a technology, a method, or even an ideology that has been forgotten or discarded and appropriate it for your own purpose. Revive something from the past by giving it a new purpose or bring to life old ideas, customs, or traditions and reinterpret them to fit your purposes.”  What you are doing is citing a Sun Tzu’s passage and distort the “the best battle is won without firing a single shot” you mentioned into our own use and advantage.  Kaizensigma, the whole world is not naive.  You dont cite Sun Tzu’s work to distort its meaning.  We all know that the antidote of this came from the great physicist who said that “in every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction”.  We all know that our motherland had caused all this mess and trouble.  But nice try though, Kaizensigma, nice try.

      • observer1356

        hehehe.. nice one Mao! I “liked” your reply.

      • Raul

        Sun Tzu’s Art of War is nothing but a hoaxed. What country is China applied Sun Tzu’s Art of war is apparently effective? China is resorting to Civilian and Fishermen as pawn instead of applying 
        stupid Sun Tzu’s Art of War. China is not the only country in this planet there are 191. Taiwan exist without China’s help. Taiwan is not included in 191 but she is more prosperous and its people are not living in poverty unlike China who boasted as the 2nd largest economy but its people are selling Fetus Capsule, and other kind of Poisoned. Sun Tzu’s art of war are for Chinese in China. China’s people doesn’t know that Sun Tzu’s Art of war are applied to them, through poisoned, Melamine, Lead, Mercury etc..etc…

  • Marcos5

    The Chinese illegal foreign miners are already Dumping Toxic Cancer causing  Mercury in  Philippine hinterlands and rivers 24- 7.  Illegal mining are now rampant from North of the Philippines to Southern Mindanao.  They are even smuggling corals and white sand from the pristine beaches of the Philippines .   Go root for your communist masters Chairman Mao Tse Dung !

  • Raul

    China is HENTAI Capital of the world.

    • Kaizensigma

      So now you are resorting to slander, name calling, racists chants as your final tool??? “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” as the wise Socrates would say. 

      • Mao Mao Chamn


        A chinese philospher once said “China is like a box of chocolates.  You may never know how many Hentai you’re gonna get”.  I think its true and Raul said it best.

      • Kaizensigma

        Again all I have to say is: 
        “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”  In addition, in your case debasing yourself by resorting to ridiculous and incoherent statements.

      • Raul

        There is no debate in here. Truth sometimes construed as slander. But it is the truth. Don’t be blind, dumb and deaf China are lead by HENTAI, homosexual, Maniacs, Corrupt, and Criminals.

  • noyab

    ang KULIT MO NAMAN PENOY….SINABI NA NG AMERICA DI SILA PAPANIG KAHIT KANINO…di mo ba naintindihan yun…….i ready mo na ang alas mo na si TRILLANES AND THE COUP PLOTTERS…..

  • valsore

    It is true.  The U.S. so far has not spoken on the fact that the Spratlys are owned by the Philippines.  It just shows that there is no use talking about defending one’s territory,  It’s either you defend it, or not.  Words are not sufficient here.  We must invest in a strong and effective Navy and Air Force.  Boycott Made In China now to weaken their buidget for their military!

  • PHtaxpayer

     “While we are all aware that the US does not take sides in disputes,
    they do have a strategic stake in the freedom of navigation, unimpeded
    commerce, and the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China
    Sea,” Mr. Aquino said.

    This is where P-Noy and other Filipinos who are pro-American bases are dead wrong.  Study history – the US military-industrial complex and therefore, the US economy, thrives on political instability and conflicts. 

    An estimated 46.5% of the World’s spending on arms is by the US. In fact, if you put China and the next 10 biggest spenders on arms together, they would not even reach America’s military budget.

    So there, our whole national defense strategy of relying on a former colonial master is already flawed as they do not have our national interests in consideration to theirs.  They want to keep us weak and dependent while keeping superpower status no matter what the cost to developing nations. 

    Only reason China was able to become #2 is she learned to take advantage of the US and use what they learned against them.  In 1954 during China’s civil war, Ike threatened Mao that the US would use nukes if his army attacked the Nationalist forces on Taiwan.  Naturally, China developed their own nuclear arsenal so America could never threaten her again.  In 1972 China accepted Nixon to open trade with the US but didn’t allow “free trade” to protect China’s interests.

    The PH has to study the China model: a “walled world” where we trade on global markets but maintain control over our economic future.  As such, US denies us free trade in Iran where we lose millions of dollars in exports like bananas, as well as giving us trade quotas and forcing us to take on their high-interest loans.  That is corruption at the highest level.

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