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Politics & Law

The Philippines and China will have a deal rather than a fight – 2016 update


Rodrigo Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte

In my 2013 Nov 27 China Daily Mail article, I wrote that:

“… Aquino’s personal style of high profile leadership will be ended by the completion of his tenure. Both ordinary Filipinos and the powerful oligarchic groups such as Cojuangco, Ayala and Roxas will sensibly choose the path to talk for preserving and fostering their vested interests rather than to fight.

The future presidents of The Philippines are unlikely to be so hawkish……What the real question the Filipinos should think is how big their warehouses are to fill the incoming advantages” [Note 1].

On Oct 22, 2016, when Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected President of the Philippines, left Beijing, he got a USD24 billion deal in his pocket as an appetiser. The fundamental reason driving Duterte to turn to China at the expense of the United States is simple:

“America would never die for us,” — (then) Mayor Duterte (Aug 2, 2015) [Note 2]

“Don’t believe in those Americans, they will not fight to die for us,” — President Duterte (Oct 4, 2016) [Note 3]

Duterte’s logic is simple and straight forward: if a war between the Philippines and China really took place, the Americans would behave as what they have been doing in Syria and other war zones, namely, hesitating to be directly engaged in battles.

Unlike the former president Benigno Aquino III (2010-6) who wishfully thought that the American GIs would fight side by side with the Filipinos, Duterte is much more realistic and pragmatic.

Realistic, because Duterte knows that the American public is reluctant to endorse military excursion in view of their track record in Ukraine, Asia Minor and the Middle East. Pragmatic, because only few American enterprises are interested in investing in the Philippines in general and the rural areas in particular, whereas China has strong interest in the Filipino agricultural produce as well as commodities.

Duterte has brought stability and peace to the region, and the Filipinos will surely benefit greatly from such a new political ecological environment.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

[Note 1]
China Daily Mail, “The Philippines and China will have a deal rather than a fight”, Nov 27, 2013.
https://chinadailymail.com/2013/11/27/the-philippines-and-china-will-have-a-deal-rather-than-a-fight/

[Note 2]
Globalnation, “Duterte says America will never die for PH”, Aug 2, 2015.
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/126835/duterte-to-military-attaches-ph-not-out-for-war-china-should-just-let-us-fish-in-seas

[Note 3]
AFP via Yahoo News, Philippines’ Duterte tells Obama to ‘go to hell’
https://www.yahoo.com/news/philippines-us-hold-war-games-duterte-tirades-214446003.html

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About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).

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