foreign affairs

The discarded statement

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 12:10

by Alan Robles

Soon after President Duterte appointed Senator Alan Cayetano foreign affairs secretary, the foreign office (DFA) issued this statement:

"We congratulate Senator Cayetano on the President's announcement of his appointment as Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

"We look forward to working with him, and the Department is now preparing to ensure a smooth institutional transition and to continue providing our services to the public. END"

Simple and concise. Why, you can barely detect the gritted teeth.

Cold War, hot words: Godwin's Law and South China Sea Diplomacy

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 10:48

by Alan Robles

Let's be clear about one thing: China is furious at the Philippines. Plenty mad.

When I asked a high-level source, "on a scale of one to 10, how angry is China at the Philippines?", he at once replied: "Nine."

It's THAT lawsuit. When Manila announced it was hauling Beijing before an arbitration court of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, it made the world's next superpower look petty and cheap, as if it were a shifty litigant with a dodgy claim in a property dispute. It's a loss of face not easily forgiven and the displeasure has been evident. In February, Chinese coast guard ships used water cannon to drive Filipino boats out of traditional fishing grounds at Panatag Shoal. This March, Chinese ships stopped Philippine vessels resupplying a Marine outpost at Ayungin Shoal, forcing our military to resort to an airdrop.

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