Thursday, October 27, 2016

Scuffle in the South China Sea #69

China has urged Australia to be cautious with the South China Sea dispute.

There have been hints China might give Philippines access to the Scarborough Shoal again, one of the disputed isles.  this may be a carrot to pull Duterte into China's orbit. 

China mocked the US' interventions in Asia.

The US Navy conducted a freedom of navigation operation near one of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.  This sail-by was also a test of the ability of the US Navy to conduct a two front war in Asia.  China, of course, condemned the operation.

The US & Vietnam have agreed the rule of law is a must for the South China Sea.

Duterte is making everyone frustrated and nervous.  The Philippines President seems to be doing his best Donald Trump impression.  Duterte went to China in a diplomatic visit (and then Japan).  China praised the visit and Duterte was praised by China prior to the visit.  Prior to the visit, he stated the South China Sea dispute would take a backseat to other concerns there.   He announced he would be interested in war games with China and Russia.  

Duterte also stated Philippines would be ending its ties with the US, then walked it back to just to just military ties and then stated cooperation would not end.  The Filippino govies spun it as 'he really didn't mean that exactly.'  The US was puzzled by the affair since no request to change cooperation has been submitted.  The announcement has made things even more uncertainty but the US will be maintaining its commitments to the Philippines. Kerry has stated he can still work with Duterte. (good luck, dude)  If Duterte kicks out the US, there will be consequences.

The Americans in the Philippines are rather jittery given his propensity for killing

China and Philippines have restored ties and have restarted discussions on the South China Sea: this is seen as a victory for China since Philippines is not pressing its win in the International Tribunal.

Filippinos trust the US more than China it seems.

The court ruling has not made the situation clearer in the South China Sea at least on the operational side.

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