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Thread: The New Chinese Era

  1. #41
    PH envoy to UN: Sea row a global concern


    By: Christine O. Avendaño


    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    01:09 AM June 15th, 2015

    THE reclamation activities of China in Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, an area within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), has progressed in a few months, latest satellite images showed.

    As the Philippines marked Independence Day on Friday, the United Nations was listening to the country’s call for an expression of global concern over China’s massive land reclamation in the South China Sea.

    Speaking at the annual meeting of State Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) at UN headquarters in New York, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lourdes Yparraguirre said China’s massive land reclamation activities to build artificial islands in the South China Sea should concern the entire international community.

    “[China’s island-building] threatens the integrity of the convention, our constitution for the oceans,” Yparraguirre said, referring to the Unclos, which 167 countries, including the Philippines and China, have signed.

    The Unclos “defines the rights and responsibilities” of the signatories “with respect to the use of the world’s oceans, and establishes guidelines for businesses, the environment and the management of marine natural resources,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Sunday.

    In her speech, Yparraguirre cited instances of China’s violations of Philippine territory and sovereignty that deprived the country of its rights to its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    She said that in 2012, China reneged on a mutual agreement to withdraw naval presence from Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), located 223 kilometers west of Luzon, well within the Philippines’ 370-km EEZ, and 1,440 km southeast of the nearest Chinese coast.

    To this day, China controls the shoal, barring Filipino fishermen from their traditional fishing grounds there, she said.

    Conduct of claimants

    Yparraguirre said that by its large-scale reclamation work in the South China Sea, China also violated the 2002 Association of Southeast Asian Nations-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

    “To undertake this … ocean filling or reclamation [China] … has had to dredge out and pulverize entire systems of coral reefs that took many centuries to grow, reducing them [to] landfill, and thus devastating the already fragile marine ecosystem and biodiversity of the region by irreparably destroying the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species and other forms of marine life,” she said.

    Citing data from marine experts, she said China’s destruction of coral reef systems in the South China Sea and their transformation into 800 hectares of landfill had resulted in an estimated economic loss of $281 million annually.

    “There should be no attempt to assert territorial or maritime claims through intimidation, coercion or force, including through unilateral and aggressive action such as massive, large-scale land reclamation. There should be no pattern of forcing change in the status quo in order to advance a [claim] of undisputed sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea,” Yparraguirre said.

    PH-claimed reefs

    Recent satellite photos showed Chinese land reclamation at Philippine-claimed reefs in the Spratly archipelago, including Mabini (Johnson South), McKennan (Hughes), Panganiban (Mischief), Calderon (Cuarteron), Gavin (Gaven) and Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) reefs.

    The photos also showed what appeared to be barracks, port facilities and an airstrip under construction, raising fears that China intends to use the artificial islands for military purposes.

    Yparraguirre said China was building artificial islands at the reefs to change the features in the area ahead of a ruling from the UN arbitral tribunal on the Philippines’ petition to nullify Beijing’s claim to almost all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea.

    Besides the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also claim territories in the South China Sea.

    The United States, which is rebalancing its naval forces to the Asia-Pacific region, has called for an “immediate and lasting” halt to China’s island-building, warning that it is escalating tensions and undermining peace and stability in the region.

    On June 10, Yparraguirre, speaking in a forum organized by the Philippines on the sidelines of the Unclos meeting, said the South China Sea was “already an environmental crisis” and reminded the signatories to the convention that they all shared the duty to protect and preserve the marine environment.

    Edgardo Gomez, professor emeritus at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute and National Scientist of the Philippines, told the forum that the annual loss of $281 million due to the destruction of coral reefs in the disputed areas affected the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and China.

    The DFA said Gomez “applied calculations of ecological economics” to arrive at the figure.

    Gomez called for a stop to the destruction of coral reefs, as well as to the exploitation of endangered species and overfishing and destructive fishing in the South China Sea.

    ‘Peace park’

    Another expert who addressed the forum, Youna Lyons, senior research fellow in the Ocean and Policy Program of the Center for International Law of the National University of Singapore, proposed a moratorium on further development and dredging to build new features in the South China Sea “in order to save what can be saved.”

    Lyons also proposed the establishment of a “peace park,” as suggested by marine science experts, focusing on a representative network of shallow features in the Spratly archipelago in the middle of the South China Sea.

  2. #42
    China-US war will start in the Spratlys.

    Can anyone tell my why the US is all over the globe?
    Understand? / ¿Entiendes?

  3. #43
    U.S. charges three Chinese for hacking Moody's, Siemens

    Agence France-Presse

    Posted at Nov 28 2017 04:45 AM

    The U.S. Justice Department charged three Chinese computer security experts Monday with hacking and stealing materials from Moody's Analytics, Siemens, and Trimple, a GPS technology firm.

    The three were associated with Guangdong-based Guangzhou Boyu Information Technology Company, known as Boyusec, which some Western security analysts allege has links to the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

    The indictment named Boyusec co-founder Wu Yingzhuo, executive director Dong Hao, and Xia Lei, an employee.

    It said they hacked the email server of Moody's Analytics in 2011, obtaining access to the emails of a person described as a high-profile economist who represented the Moody's brand -- a description that matches Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi.

    Moody's did not confirm or deny that, but said it had "worked closely" with the investigation, and had not lost any customer or employee data to the hackers.

    In 2014 the three Chinese hackers broke into German industrial giant Siemens' computer networks, stealing large amounts of files and data from its energy, technology and transportation businesses, according to the U.S. indictment.

    It added that in 2015-2016 they stole newly developed hardware and software information from a new global satellite navigation system being developed by Trimble.

    The three were charged with computer fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and theft of trade secrets.

    The indictment did not say what Boyusec did with the information, some of which had clear commercial value.

    "Once again, the Justice Department and the FBI have demonstrated that hackers around the world who are seeking to steal our companies' most sensitive and valuable information can and will be exposed and held accountable," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente.

    In 2015 then-president Barack Obama extracted a pledge from Chinese leader Xi Jinping to halt Chinese theft of trade secrets. Since then industry and US intelligence experts say the practice has significantly diminished, but not disappeared.

    Boyusec has been watched as a suspicious actor by Western security firms for several years.

    Earlier this year the threat intelligence firm Record Future -- which is supported by the US Central Intelligence Agency -- said Boyusec works "on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security" and is behind hacking attacks known as APT3.

    "APT3 has traditionally targeted a wide-range of companies and technologies, likely to fulfill intelligence collection requirements on behalf of the MSS," Recorded Future said.

  4. #44
    Thinking the way the bully wants

    Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:11 AM February 07, 2018

    The aerial photographs obtained by’s Frances Mangosing show incontrovertible proof that China's militarization of its South China Sea outposts is almost complete.

    To this latest outrage, another demonstration of Xi Jinping's contempt for compromise commitments his predecessors entered into with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Duterte administration offered … a collective shrug, combined with a finger pointed in the usual direction.

    "If the Aquino administration was not able to do anything about these artificial islands, what [do] they want us to do? We cannot declare war — not only is it illegal, but it is also contrary — but it’s also … impossible for us to declare war at this point," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, once a credible lawyer with experience in human rights law and expertise in international law, told reporters.

    Among many other dismaying statements he made, he also said this: "Our position is everything found on these islands were already there when the President took over. So let’s not talk of a militarization that happened under the Duterte administration, if there is such a militarization which China denies."

    He should have at least read the news report before opening his mouth. The story quoted Eugenio Bito-onon Jr., former mayor of Kalayaan town on Pag-asa Island, the largest part of the Spratlys occupied by the Philippines, thus: "I flew with HBO before the elections in 2016. We got repeated warnings from the Chinese because we were circling over the islands. I see there are now additional vertical features."

    To this categorical statement from someone who lives in the area, one can add any number of scholarly or intelligence assessments, including from independent institutions, which assert that the Chinese have not only aggressively reclaimed land in the seven reefs they occupy in the Spratlys, they have built military facilities on them.

    Not even China denies that new facilities have been built that can be converted to military use; Beijing only denies that the new facilities are military in objective.

    Why the official speaking on behalf of the President of the Philippines should prioritize what China says ("if there is such a militarization which China denies") over the informed judgment of Filipino citizens and indeed of the Philippine military is a riddle.

    Why that same official, a lawyer like the President he speaks for, would assert easily disprovable lies ("If the Aquino administration was not able to do anything") is a mystery.

    Why he would think that his answers, and the Philippine government's position, meet the national interest ("let's not talk of a militarization that happened under the Duterte administration") is an enigma.

    The truth is: Only Beijing thinks that the alternative is war. To be more precise, Beijing wants us to think that the only alternative to the current state of affairs is war.

    President Duterte himself said so. Referring to Xi, China's all-powerful leader, he said: "His response to me, 'We're friends, we don't want to quarrel with you, we want to maintain the presence of warm relationship, but if you force the issue, we’ll go to war.'"

    Tellingly, no Chinese government agency ever denied or confirmed these remarks - and why would they? To hear the president of a sovereign state say these words is victory enough for the Chinese. If the only alternative is war, why would a small carabao butt heads with an enormous dragon?

    But in fact, other alternatives exist.

    The sweeping legal victory the Philippines won at the arbitral tribunal, in the case the previous administration filed, is proof that other options are available.

    It is nothing short of tragic that the first administration to be led by a lawyer since Ferdinand Marcos' does not believe in the efficacy of the law.

    It would have taken time, but Manila stubbornly insisting on its rights recognized by the landmark ruling of July 12, 2016, would have had the support of many influential members of the international community.

    Instead, we have the tragic spectacle of the President's spokesperson, lying about the objective facts, blaming those who actually fought for the country's best interest, and spreading China’s own black-and-white, war-or-else gospel.

    History repeats itself, first as spectacle, then as capitulation.

  5. #45
    Specter of one-man rule looms as China lifts Xi's term limit

    Associated Press / 07:49 AM February 27, 2018

    BEIJING, China - For some Chinese, their feelings about plans to lift term limits to allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely can be represented best by a cuddly stuffed bear.

    Social media users shared images of Winnie the Pooh hugging a jar of honey along with the quote, "Find the thing you love and stick with it."

    The Disney bear’s image has often been compared to Xi, prompting periodic blocks on the use of Pooh pictures online.

    Other online commenters wrote, "Attention, the vehicle is reversing" - an automated announcement used by Chinese delivery vehicles - suggesting that China is returning to the era of former dictator Mao Zedong or even imperial rule.

    Analysts say the ruling Chinese Communist Party's move to enable Xi to stay in power indefinitely will ensure some degree of political stability while also reviving the specter of a return to one-man rule.

    In a sign of the leadership's sensitivities, Chinese censors moved quickly Monday to remove satirical online commentary about the development.

    A day after the party announced a proposed constitutional amendment ending term limits, internet users found it difficult to signal approval or disapproval by changing their profiles. Key search topics such as "serve another term" were censored.

    The country's rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, is all but certain to pass the amendment when it meets for its annual session early next month. Under the 1982 constitution, the president is limited to two five-year terms in office, but Xi - already China's most powerful leader since Mao - appears to want additional terms to see through his agenda of fighting corruption, eliminating poverty and transforming China into a modern leading nation by mid-century.

    Or, some speculated, he may simply wish to retain near-absolute power for as long as possible.

    "It is most likely that it will turn into a post of lifelong tenure," said Zhang Ming, a retired political scientist who formerly taught at Beijing's Renmin University.

    A retired Beijing railroad worker, who gave only his surname, Liu, said he approved of Xi's performance over his first five years in office and voiced no objection to the lifting of term limits.

    "As the leader, he has done pretty well in terms of reform and economic growth," said Liu, 67. "In foreign policy, he also did a good job by taking tough positions in the face of provocations from the U.S."

    Xi has made robust diplomacy and a muscular military posture in the South China Sea and elsewhere a hallmark of his rule and more can be expected, experts said.

    In terms of trade relations with the U.S., entrenched differences between the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economies will likely remain, said James Zimmerman, former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

    "This announcement on the one hand potentially means continuity, predictability, and stability. But, on the other hand, it also means more of the same; namely, stalled market reforms and limitations on market access," Zimmerman said.

    Professor and political commentator Hu Xingdou said he doubted that Xi wants to be president-for-life, but there were concerns that China could "slide into a kind of fascism or personal dictatorship which will cause very serious consequences."

    "Many consider this a lifetime tenure, but I think it will probably be extended to three or four terms. Maybe an unspoken agreement has been reached inside the Chinese Communist Party that one has to step down after three or four terms," Hu said.

    Others pointed out that authoritarian rule without term limits often leads to abuses and severely complicates the succession process.

    In the near term, "this move could actually increase stability, since there would presumably be less jockeying for power," said William Nee, an Amnesty International researcher on China. "In the long run, however, this will probably further complicate the perennial problem that authoritarian states confront in finding a way to peacefully and orderly transfer power."

    However long Xi wishes to hold on to office, he currently faces little opposition from within the party or mainstream society. Xi already has a firm grip on power as head of the military and party general secretary, a position for which there are no term limits, and has eliminated all challenges to his leadership.

    China holds no competitive elections for leadership posts, and the body responsible for reappointing Xi to a second five-year term and amending the constitution next month generally approves the party's pre-ordained decisions.

    Xi appeared to signal his intention at last year's party national congress by breaking with the convention of appointing an heir-apparent to the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee.

    In addition, Xi has already won two highly significant victories in being named the "core" of the current generation of party leaders, and having his eponymous governing philosophy inserted into the party constitution at last year's congress.

    Recent months have also seen a growing number of references in state media to Xi as "leader," a minimalist title reserved up until now for Mao. "People love the leader of the people," read a commentary on the website of state broadcaster CCTV on Monday.

    Yet, extending his rule while centralizing power also poses political risks for Xi, making him solely responsible for dealing with knotty problems including the ballooning public debt, an anemic public welfare system, unemployment in the bloated state sector and pushback against China's drive for regional dominance and global influence.

    In recent months, critics have pointed to two major policy missteps.

    An effort to cut winter air pollution in the frigid north by slashing coal use had to be reversed after factories were left idle and millions of people shivering in their homes.

    Around the same time, a push to clear unregistered residents from Beijing and other cities in the name of safety and social order was roundly criticized for throwing migrant families out of their homes in the dead of winter.

    Xi's rule has been characterized by a relentless crackdown on critics and independent civil society voices such as lawyers netted in a sweeping crackdown on legal activists that began in July 2015.

    Following the passage of the constitutional amendment, "there will be even less tolerance of criticism," said Joseph Cheng, a long-time observer of Chinese politics now retired from the City University of Hong Kong.

    "The regime will be even more severe in all kinds of repression," Cheng said. /cbb

  6. #46
    Why is the world silent about Xi Jinping's power grab?

    By Kerry Brown

    Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT) February 26, 2018

    Source: CNN

    Kerry Brown is a professor of Chinese studies at King's College London and director of the Lau China Institute. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

    (CNN)Leaders in the West have been suspiciously quiet about the expected changes to the Chinese constitution that would remove the two-term limit on the presidency - which would allow President Xi Jinping to rule the country unchallenged for decades to come. Why the silence?

    Firstly, most countries that deal with China will have assumed that Xi was here to stay anyway.

    They know China is a one-party state, and that the Communist Party holds sway over everything. So unilaterally changing the rules its gives itself would not harm anyone. Most international observers will have been baffled the restriction was ever there in the first place.

    But there is also a more pragmatic reason for silence. For all the Western complaints about the parlous state of human rights, in their hearts they know they need a country which is stable and predictable - even if it is a stable and predictable autocracy.

    A China that contributed to uncertainty in a world where Donald Trump is US president, the UK is trying to leave the EU, where the Middle East looks like it is perpetually inflamed by unrest, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo seems to be slipping toward yet more civil war would be a truly scary place.

    A fifth of humanity could become refugees. The world's key supply source for so many manufactured goods could be disrupted or shut down. An uncertain China would make the various crises the world faces today look tame.

    For Western leaders, it is a simple calculation. Who is better to speak to about dealing with the problem of a nuclearized and threatening North Korea - a Xi Jinping strong enough to be able to maneuver a non-time limited country leadership rule change, or an uncertain, weak Beijing leadership where no one is quite certain who has final say?

    For all the West's unease about a one-party state having such dominance at the moment, because of the stability it gives over such a crucial region, the Communist Party's total control of China is something Western leaders buy into and support.

    Their mouths might say one thing, to appease critical constituencies back home. But their heads know that a China following the path of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s would be a catastrophe.

    It would destabilize a region already worryingly febrile because of Pyongyang's antics, cause economic calamity and add to their woes back at home through impact on capital and goods flows.

    Xi Jinping might find surprising sources of opposition within China - groups and people inside and outside the party that we, and he, might not know about. But one thing is almost certain. Western leaders will not be the ones he needs to fear. Strong, stable, predictable leadership in China is key for them. And to achieve this, at least as far as they are concerned, he can rewrite as many parts of the Constitution as he wants.

  7. #47
    Emperor Xi

    Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:09 AM March 07, 2018

    The news that emerged out of Beijing on Feb. 25, the proposed constitutional amendment that will be ratified as a matter of course by the Chinese legislature meeting this week and next, is startling but not entirely unexpected.

    The proposal to lift the two-term limit on the presidency of China is part of a pattern, the continuing consolidation of power by Xi Jinping, the most dominant Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. Still, it comes as a surprise to those who see Xi as a suave politician, sophisticated in his ways.

    The real source of power in China is the Communist Party; that power, in turn, is backed by the People's Liberation Army (which is under party, not state, control).

    Xi has a firm hold on both. He is general secretary of the party, and chair of the Central Military Commission. (The paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, the wily survivor who led the so-called opening of China, never held the top party position but served for years as chair of the commission overseeing the military.)

    Both positions are not restricted by term limits, and the official justification offered by the Chinese government for the proposed constitutional amendment referred to this fact.

    In imitating the party's rules regarding these two positions, the change in the state constitution "benefits protecting the authority of the party center and collective leadership with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and benefits the strengthening and perfecting of the national leadership system," Reuters quoted Zhang Yesui, a vice minister and spokesperson of the legislature, as saying.

    What the amendment means, in fine, is that Xi can stay as president for longer than the two five-year terms that the collective leadership under Deng fashioned out of the chaos of Mao’s despotic rule.

    The first Chinese president to follow these term limits was Jiang Zemin; the second was his successor and Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao. Xi proposes to end this tradition even before it has taken firm root.

    Why would he do so? Unlike Jiang, Hu, and even Deng, to whom the Communist Party of China owes its formula for survival, Xi has elevated his policies into the party constitution, enshrined as "Xi Jinping Thought for a New Era," and succeeded in having himself named as "core leader" - a new honorific, symbolic of Xi's central position in the Chinese universe.

    Jiang himself engineered a few more years as chair of the Central Military Commission even after he stepped down from the presidency; Xi could have availed himself of the same option at the end of his second term in 2023.

    The answer seems to lie in that international reputation of Xi we had mentioned, as a sophisticated statesman of the international order.

    While it would have been possible for Xi to remain as party general secretary or as military commander in chief even after his presidency, he would not have been able to represent China and take the lead in global affairs.

    As The Economist noted: "The answer must be that it is because of the kind of leader he wants to be: with his power on full display, not hidden behind the scenes. A reason for wanting this is that he is trying to project Chinese influence round the world. Because of diplomatic protocol it is easier to meet foreign leaders as president than as general secretary."

    The end of term limits would effectively mean the end of Deng’s ideal of collective leadership. And if Chinese history itself is any guide, it would exchange short-term stability (Xi's continuing crackdown on corruption has led to the arrest and incarceration of high party and government officials) for long-term leadership succession chaos. As Deng himself argued, post-Mao, the "overconcentration of power" leads to "arbitrary rule."

    But Xi is not seeking changes in the country's constitution to benefit only himself. He is seeking to entrench the Communist Party's monopoly on power even further.

    As The Economist warned, another constitutional amendment that has been proposed and that will be ratified as a matter of course seeks to reword the first of the Chinese constitution’s general principles, to this: “The socialist system is the fundamental system of the People's Republic of China. The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics."

    The first sentence is not new. The second is, and like Xi, promises to be around a long time.

  8. #48
    Duterte’s Chinese chimera

    By: Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 06:05 AM April 16, 2018

    “More than anybody else at this time of our national life, I need China. I will not say something which is not true,” President Duterte said on Monday, ahead of his third visit to China since taking office.

    Mr. Duterte rarely misses the chance to express his “love” for Chinese President Xi Jinping, or promote instances when China offered assistance, no matter how limited relative to its resources or the magnitude of the crisis at hand, to the Philippines.

    Last year, when US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Manila, Mr. Duterte was quick to highlight the (small-scale) military assistance from China during the Marawi crisis, although it was traditional allies America and Australia that provided the cutting-edge intelligence, training and equipment that helped end the terrorist siege of the country’s largest Muslim-majority city.

    Nor does the President miss the chance to play down or ignore China’s rapidly growing military footprint in the Kalayaan Group of Islands; its large-scale reclamation activities on Philippine-claimed land features in the South China Sea; continued jurisdictional control of Panatag Shoal (international name: Scarborough Shoal) at the expense of Filipino fishermen; and blatant defiance of the 2016 arbitral court ruling at The Hague, which is, under international law, “final” and “binding.”

    More recently, the government has been busy dismissing concerns over China’s suspicious activities in Philippine Rise (formerly known as Benham Rise), including its unilateral naming of seabed features within our waters. During his chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) last year, Mr. Duterte used his position to tell the international community to keep out of the South China Sea disputes, much to the delight of China.

    Promise of investments

    Mr. Duterte has even discussed “co-ownership” with China of disputed resources in the West Philippine Sea. At the heart of his justification for his strategic acquiescence is Beijing’s promise of large-scale investments in the Philippines.

    In his worldview, China is the answer to the Philippines’ national development needs. But facts on the ground show a more sobering picture.

    In the first year of Mr. Duterte’s presidency, Japan (P31.48 billion) out-invested China (P1.61 billion) by a factor of 23. The United States, which has been at the receiving end of Mr. Duterte’s nonstop invectives, invested five times more than China (P8.36 billion).

    Last year, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the bulk of foreign direct investments (FDIs) came from Japan, the United States and Europe.

    In fact, so far, it’s Japan and private conglomerates, not mainland Chinese companies, that have led big-ticket infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

    An authoritative study by Rand Corp. that analyzed Beijing’s pledges of investments around the world in recent decades shows a huge gap between Chinese pledges of investments, on one hand, and the actual amount delivered, on the other.

    In many cases, including in friendly authoritarian countries, China’s actual pledge was up to five times larger than what it actually delivered.

    Astute power

    And China is in no rush to actually invest in the Philippines, since it’s getting all the concessions it seeks with minimum effort. Mayor-turned-President Duterte is dealing with an astute power that is guided by thousands of years of strategic wisdom.

    More than two millenniums ago, the legendary Chinese war strategist Sun Tzu advised every wise king that the supreme art of war was “to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

    Both at the height of its power as well as in its darkest days, China largely pursued its strategic interests with minimum reliance on force, but maximum reliance on charm and cunning.

    At the heart of this “charm offensive” strategic doctrine is Liu Ching, an imperial adviser during the Han dynasty who argued that the best way for China to dominate peripheral states was through “induced economic dependence.”

    In many ways, the works of Sun Tzu and Liu Ching served as the foundation of China’s manifold economic initiatives in its neighborhood, including the Maritime Silk Road Initiative, as well as offerings of billions of dollars to smaller neighbors like the Philippines.

    As Henry Kissinger, who has met Chinese leaders throughout the decades, explains: “In no other country is it conceivable that a modern leader would initiate a major national undertaking by invoking strategic principles [from ancient thinkers].”

    Even if China were to commit large-scale investments, there would still be concerns over whether its state-backed companies could clear our domestic laws on competitive bidding, environmental sustainability, and good government.

    There is also the broader concern over Chinese companies insisting on employing not only their own engineers and managers but also workers for overseas projects.

    False promises

    The real concern, as some analysts prematurely argue, isn’t the “debt trap” by China, as we have seen in smaller economies like Sri Lanka and Laos. Instead, it’s a “Chinese chimera,” where Beijing extracts major geopolitical concessions from Mr. Duterte based on (false) promises of large-scale investments that never come true.

    Modern China might as well come up with a new strategic dictum: Lure your enemy by offering heaven on earth.

  9. #49
    Solons urge protest over PH reef incident

    By: DJ Yap - Reporter / @deejayapINQ 07:00 AM April 19, 2018

    An opposition lawmaker warned on Wednesday that it was only a matter of time before China deployed warplanes on its artificial islands in Philippine waters, after the Inquirer published surveillance photos showing Chinese military transport planes on Panganiban Reef.

    Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, together with Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Sen. Francis Pangilinan, called on the Duterte administration to file a diplomatic protest with China.

    Asked about the Inquirer photographs after he spoke to foreign correspondents on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano refused to say whether the Philippines would raise the matter with China.

    Cayetano gave assurance, however, that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was “taking all diplomatic actions necessary to protect our claim and to communicate to them our desire to return features [in the sea] to their original state.”

    But he did not say what his department would do about the landings on Panganiban, reiterating his stance that actions taken by the DFA on the South China Sea dispute should be kept from the public.

    “The Chinese did not reclaim Mischief Reef for nothing. The construction of a military grade airstrip there is not for display only,” Alejano said, referring to Panganiban Reef by its international name.

    The reef is located 232 kilometers west of Palawan, well within the Philippines’ 370-km exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea locally known as West Philippine Sea.

    Besides Panganiban, China has also transformed Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Calderon (Cuarteron), Burgos (Gaven), Mabini (Johnson South), Zamora (Subi) and McKennan (Hughes) reefs—all claimed by the Philippines—into artificial islands with communications and surveillance capabilities.

    China has also topped Kagitingan and Zamora reefs with runways capable of receiving military planes.

    “It is [only] a matter of time before the Chinese deploy their fighter aircraft [on] their reclaimed islands as part of their strategic objective of controlling [the South China Sea],” Alejano, a former Marine captain, said in a statement.

    Chinese military aircraft

    Alejano called on President Rodrigo Duterte to file a diplomatic protest against China after seeing aerial images in the Inquirer of two Xian Y-7 transport planes on Panganiban Reef, the first reported presence of Chinese military aircraft in the area.

    “We should not be deceived by China’s pronouncements that it will not militarize [the South China Sea]. Therefore, the [Philippines] must continuously and persistently call out such move that destabilizes the region,” Alejano said.

    “I am hoping that Duterte will file a diplomatic protest this time around unlike before [when] government officials were reduced to spokespersons [for] China by justifying Chinese aggressive actions in [South China Sea],” he added.

    Fragile peace

    Zarate, in a separate statement, condemned China’s “continued militarization of the West Philippine Sea.”

    “China is obviously flexing its military muscle and endangering the fragile peace in the West Philippine Sea. This is highly condemnable and the Philippines should protest this provocative Chinese action,” Zarate said.

    “Also this move of China is a clear violation of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and is a way of asserting its contempt of the court as well as its dominance in the area,” he said.

    Zarate was referring to the arbitral court’s July 2016 ruling that invalidated China’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea and recognized the Philippines’ sovereign rights to fish and explore for resources in its own EEZ.

    But President Duterte has shelved that ruling, preferring to improve relations with China and courting it for aid and investments.

    “The Duterte administration should be taken to task for not doing anything on this blatant violation of our sovereignty. The Philippine government should not take this sitting down,” Zarate said.

    “We are calling on the Filipino people here and abroad to protest this newest affront of China to our sovereignty,” he added.

    ‘Illegal occupation’

    Senator Pangilinan said the government should protest China’s “illegal occupation” of Panganiban Reef and that the military should state what it intended to do to deal with China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea.

    In a text message to the Inquirer, Pangilinan said he shared the concern of former National Security Adviser Jose Almonte, who had warned the Duterte administration against too much cozying up to China.

    “It would be foolish to expect any other nation to uphold our sovereignty and our interests as a nation,” Panganiban said.

    Security expert Francisco Ashley Acedillo said the Duterte administration should have issued “a sternly worded” response to emphasize that Panganiban Reef is within Philippine territory.

    “The latest movement of Chinese military aircraft in these illegally constructed islands in a clearly disputed area merely confirms what China has peddled as a lie all along—that these islands are for civilian use and that they do not intend to militarize these disputed areas,” Acedillo said. - With reports from Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Christine O. Avendaño and Nikko Dizon

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