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Spratlys

A noted blogger’s most recent post talks about a deal quite possibly made in hell. As far as I can understand it, here’s what he’s pointing out: the President has weakened our claim on the Spratlys by agreeing to a joint seismic study of an area that covers “a vast swathe of ocean off Palawan in the southern Philippines, thrusts into the Spratlys and abuts Malampaya, a Philippine producing gas field. About one-sixth of the entire area, closest to the Philippine coastline, is outside the claims by China and Vietnam.

This claim (that the joint undertaking weakened our claim on the Spratlys) is based on the perception that China – according to a large number of experts – agrees to joint undertakings only with the implicit understanding that the covered area belongs to China. If this is true, then it means that in entering into the joint undertaking with China, we have implied accepted that the coverage area does, indeed belong to China. Worse, “these joint surveys include parts of the Philippines’ legal continental shelf that China and Vietnam don’t even claim.

The quotes above come from a Far Eastern Economic Review article very recently published. The article also suggests that this arrangement has not just screwed the Philippines, but that it has also fucked ASEAN. Apparently, in 1995, ASEAN was able to score a coup when it forced China to deal with ASEAN as a whole – not as several individual nations. This was a result of the discovery that China had built structures on Mischief Reef. You might remember that episode as giving birth to the term “creeping invasion,” which in true filipino fashion soon spawned creeping everything else, like “creeping martial law.”

This coup was a very important victory because China is such a juggernaut and smaller countries like ours really don’t stand a chance against it if we are fragmented. Which, apparently, is what the joint seismic study did: it fragmented ASEAN once again because one of its members (ironically, the one who was largely responsible for the 1995 diplomatic triumph – us) went ahead and made a deal with the ‘enemy.’

The latter part of the article suggests that these two major fumbles – the implicit acceptance of China’s claims over the spratlys and the fragmentation of ASEAN – were due to “higher political purposes” coming into play. Ricky Carandang was less diplomatic. According to the anchorman, the joint seismic study was entered into without the advise of the foreign affairs department (and presumably, the DFA would have advised against it anyway) in consideration of a commitment of a 2 billion dollar development assistance package per year until 2010.

Carandang goes on to say that this package is made even more appealing by the fact that the Chinese are soft on corruption, thereby allowing thieves in government to capitalize on the packages in a way that they couldn’t with loans and such coming from other sources.

So, breaking it all down, it comes to this: Gloria enters into an agreement with China that impliedly accepts China’s claim over the Spratlys (and part of the Philippines’ undisputed territory) in exchange for a Chinese commitment to give the Philippines tons of easily embezzeled money every year til 2010.

Even more succinctly, Gloria sold the Philippines out in exchange for the chance to make a lot of money during the remainder of her term.

In the process, she could prolly trumpet to all and sundry that she was responsible for funneling billions into the Philippines until 2010. Unless the arrangement continued on through the term of the next prez, Gloria would then be a truly difficult act to follow, thus securing her place in history.

Well, hell. If that isn’t the grandest scheme I’ve ever heard of. Whew.

I hope this bastard deal gets all the attention it fucking deserves. Is it really all about making money for Gloria? Or is it – as some have suggested – a ploy to get on the good side of the region’s only superpower? Is it a sell-out? or an audacious gambit for a better position on the regional chessboard vis-a-vis the Yellow Queen? Either way, thing totally (incoming shameless plug!!!) validates my earlier observation that foreign policy – specifically ASEAN policy – is something that all the presidential wannabees fucking need to be crystal clear on before 2010.

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Filed under: 2010 watch, international, politics, , , ,

7 Responses

  1. cvj says:

    Whatever her underlying motivations, she is playing a very dangerous game by upsetting the balance in the region. Sometime back, i engaged in some tin foil hat speculation (at that time from the point of view of the VFA with the Americans):

    http://cvjugo.blogspot.com/2007/09/american-protectorate.html

    “The VFA needs to be abrogated because for the USA, it is just a stepping stone to the establishment of new military bases. In a few years or decades, rivalry with China will escalate. Taiwan will probably be lost and Luzon and the Visayas will be subject to Finlandization. An independent Mindanao will allow US Bases to be established in General Santos, which will be the new US firebreak in South East Asia. As early as now, we must play no part in these dangerous games.” – cvj 10. February 2006 at 10:58 PM

    With the agreements entered into by GMA, we’re on our way towards Finlandization. I agree with you that all would-be leaders have to be crystal clear on their foreign policies (diplomatic and economic). We need someone who will representative our own interests and not allow ourselves to be pawns of China or the United States.

  2. shiro says:

    er… what’s with Finland?

  3. rom says:

    shiro: finlandization is what they call it when a sovereign country refuses to stand up to a more powerful neighbor, in the process risking its sovereignty (even if only symbollically). it’s really an insult that has its roots in the relationship of the USSR and (surprise!) Finland during the cold war.

  4. shiro says:

    ah so desu…. all this pol sci jargon escapes me at the moment luv. so, everyone’s off to the rallies… are you going?

  5. rom says:

    shiro: no I won’t. but if you have a chopper i can borrow …. 😀

  6. shiro says:

    let’s call our local corrupt politician. hahaha!

  7. BrianB says:

    This woman does not care about her country. She has gone over the edge. She doesn’t just commit the sin of kahambugan. This is satanic pride.

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