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Foreign secretary follows Sun Tzu in dealing with China

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario

The Philippines is standing up to China using the teachings of ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu.

“Know when and how to fight,” Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario told Philippine diplomats, quoting from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” at a strategic planning workshop in Tagaytay City on April 14.

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Del Rosario used the standoff at Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) as an example of delicate situations that Filipino diplomats might encounter.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea supports the Philippine claim, emboldening the Department of Foreign Affairs to challenge China to bring the dispute to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.

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That, Del Rosario said, quoting from Sun Tzu’s teachings, is knowing the facts, knowing what is right and how to do it, and knowing when to seize the day.

This is the day. But China won’t go with the Philippines to the international tribunal, insisting dealing one-on-one with its rivals for potentially mineral-rich territory in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Del Rosario has asked the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take a stand on the Philippine dispute with China.

That is following Sun Tzu’s teaching: Know how to pull people together. To which Del Rosario said he had added: Know how to get your people and yourself to reach beyond your grasp at all times.

The Philippines cannot fight China alone; it needs the support of friends in the region and in the global community.

“Expect the unexpected,” Del Rosario said, referring to the quiet departure on the night of April 13 of the eight Chinese fishing boats that had provoked the standoff.

The departure of the fishing boats greatly eased tensions. “After talking and guarding these vessels, now suddenly they disappeared. So expect the unexpected,” Del Rosario said.

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TAGS: Albert Del Rosario, Bajo de Masinloc, China, DFA, Diplomacy, Foreign affairs, International relations, Military, Panatag Shoal, Philippines, Scarborough Shoal, Scarborough Standoff
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