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Philippines: China Agrees to Discuss Bad Behavior

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June 24, 2019:

President Duterte, speaking to regional leaders in Tokyo on May 31th asked the question everyone was concerned about; why is China claiming all of the South China Sea? The official Chinese position is that they are not claiming but reclaiming what is historically theirs. The Chinese historical documentation for this this is fake and China responds to fakery accusations by declaring it all the result of foreign conspiracies. Duterte has never been shy about his desire to have good relations with China but the South China Sea claims are getting in the way with that for the Philippines and just about every other nation that borders the South China Sea. There are other problems out there besides the territorial ones. China also denies recent accusations that their new island bases are jamming satellite phones used by Filipino Coast Guard vessels that come by.

China also denies complaints about Australian helicopter pilots, operating from Australian warships in the South China Sea, being hit with blinding laser beams sent from Chinese ships and island bases. The Chinese laser blinding efforts have been brought up before, about Chinese warships operating off the Somali coast and in nearby Djibouti. The satellite phone jamming is new but that would be possible because this year China has installed a lot of additional EW (Electronic Warfare) equipment on its South China Sea artificial islands. China refuses to discuss or negotiate any of their claims and that is destabilizing the entire region because none of the nations victimized by this aggressive territorial seizure is content to just do nothing.

The Americans seem to have put China in a negotiating mood because of longstanding accusations of unfair Chinese trade policies and patent and other data theft. Other nations, including Russia, have also suffered from this but not to the extent the Americans have and suddenly China is finding that these actions do have adverse consequences. Because of the South China Sea situation China has no local supporters and now Chinese ally Iran is threatening to shot down oil exports via the Persian Gulf, which would mainly hurt China and other Asian oil importers (including India). For the Philippines this provides some interesting opportunities. America is once more a major oil and natural gas exporter and largely insulated from oil exporting problems in the Persian Gulf. Now the Chinese are willing to talk to the Philippines. Nothing may come of this but it’s a move in the right direction.


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