Philippines' Duterte warns China of 'reckoning' | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Philippines' Duterte warns China of 'reckoning'

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday of a "reckoning" with China if there was no resolution to a tense dispute over rival claims to the South China Sea.

An international tribunal ruled last month that China's claims to most of the strategically vital waters had no legal basis, in what was seen as a sweeping victory for the Philippines, which filed the case.

Duterte repeatedly had said he did not want to anger China with an aggressive response, and sent an envoy to ease tensions, but on Wednesday signalled he was prepared to adopt a more confrontational approach.

"We will not raise hell now because of the judgement but there will come a time that we will have to do some reckoning about this," Duterte said in a speech to soldiers at a military camp.

China, which has in recent years undertaken giant land reclamation works in disputed parts of the sea, has vowed to ignore the ruling.

It has called for direct talks with the Philippines, but insisted it will not compromise on its claims.

Duterte said the Philippines had not "insisted" on the judgement, but signalled that stance would change.

"They (China) better come up with what they really want. Because whether we like it or not, that arbitral judgement would be insisted (on) not only by the Philippines but by the whole countries here in Southeast Asia," he said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As reported at thediplomat.com in January of this year, concerning the newly minted mutual defense pact between the US and the Philippines:

The EDCA provides U.S. forces rotational, negotiated, and limited access to a number of mutually-agreed upon locations. So far, the Americans have zeroed in on at least eight prime military bases, including Subic and Clark — the site of largest American military bases during Cold War — as well as Oyster Bay in Palawan, strategically close to disputed land features and waters in the South China Sea. Instead of permanent U.S. bases, we are instead looking at the establishment of forward operating sites and cooperative security locations, where the host nation (theoretically) enjoys considerable supervision and control over the activities of visiting forces. The EDCA is particularly beneficial to the United States, because it will no longer have to pay huge sums to rent out Filipino bases à la Cold War days, not to mention that the Philippines will actually end up paying for the transportation and utility costs of visiting forces. In short, the Pentagon will enjoy low-cost and flexible access to premium locations in the Philippines. So what is the Philippines is getting in exchange? There is nothing in the EDCA that compels the United States to come to the host nation’s rescue as far as Sino-Philippine territorial disputes are concerned. The Obama administration has consistently reiterated that the agreement is not aimed at China, but instead is aimed at enhancing the two allies’ capabilities in the realm of humanitarian relief and disaster-management operations. The Philippines, however, hopes that an increased U.S. military footprint on its soil will nonetheless provide some element of ‘latent deterrence’ against further Chinese provocations. Although legally not obligated to do so, Washington will surely come under tremendous political pressure to help the Philippines in an event of contingency in the disputed waters. Furthermore, EDCA facilitates the expansion of joint military exercises, the enhancement of interoperability among the two allies, and the transfer of more U.S. funds and military equipment to Armed Forces of the Philippines.

I am sure that US forces have been moving quickly to occupy those agreed-upon bases, and that US military equipment has been put into place to confront China militarily from the Philippines; I think that this is why Duterte seized this moment to challenge China.

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