Philippines

I was pleasantly surprised to read that although Manila has filed its case in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) dispute in the UNCLOS, it remains open to joint development. This is wise way to go instead of getting stuck in verbal tussles through media.

If China needs the oil, so do we because of our burgeoning population. According to the Department of Energy the Philippines needs to be 60 percent self-sufficient in energy by 2024. That is why the Philippines needs to continue exploring for oil especially around the disputed area with China. While we have filed a case for arbitration, efforts must continue for a joint venture with China. The claim for ownership is separate from forging a joint venture. We should take advantage that China remains open to a joint venture solution.

I believe this is the basis for Manny V. Pangilinan’s pursuit for joint development through a commercial venture in SC72 that promises to be a big find — some 3.4 trillion cubic feet of gas according to a Forum Energy report. Forum Energy in owned by Philex Petroleum. There are other promising oil and gas blocks in the area.

As PNOC said in its report, “The Philippines sits in the middle of the Asia Pacific region, surrounded by countries with substantial oil and gas assets, yet the Philippines has very low proven reserves. This either means the country is extremely unlucky or it has not yet begun to scratch the surface in terms of exploring its hydrocarbons potential.”

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But to be able to do more exploration, we would need the cooperation of China. That is a given. It makes sense therefore that finding solutions to the problem should be made in this direction because China is open to it. Criticize and analyze it if we must but always with the intention of finding a solution that will be acceptable to all.

Vietnamese Huy Danh Duong of the Southeast Asian Sea Research Foundation wrote “Taking into account the complexity of the South China Sea dispute and the absence of any solution, setting aside dispute and pursuing joint development may be acceptable, but only if it is done in a fair way.” So what is the fair way?

The task is to find a fair joint venture agreement within the parameters of the Deng Xiaoping and Manny V. Pangilinan formulas.

Another Vietnamese Professor Ji Guoxing echoed Duong. He suggested that first of all, all parties in the dispute have to agree to a common overall framework for exploiting the resources in the South China Sea.

To achieve this the dispute has to be depoliticized or as Philippine entrepreneur MV Pangilinan suggested it should be treated as a commercial venture. The exchanges that took place between the Chinese and Vietnamese also concerns the Philippines.

In the conference, Chinese Ambassador Tang Guó Qiáng to Vietnam:  “Once the right conditions come and the two sides are able to solve the dispute, it is assured that our relationship will grow better. In contrast, when the conditions are not right and prevent us from gaining a better relationship, what we should do is to set aside the dispute.

“More effort and co-operation is needed to improve the relationship between the two countries. While growing the bilateral relationship and waiting for the right conditions, both sides have more time to solve the dispute and may find a better solution.”

In his book, “When China rules the World” China expert Martin Jacques distinguishes between China’s tributary system and the West’s Westphalian approaches to sovereignty.

“The tributary system involving a hierarchical relationship and the latter based on relations of equality between sovereign state-nations. But in fact in the Westphalian system of the West “the great majority of countries in the world did not enjoy independence, let alone equality.”

It is possible for China to enter into joint venture with less powerful countries through their tributary system. This aspect should be explored to tackle the seeming contradiction with proceeding with joint venture without deciding on ownership.

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No one was discussing the South China sea (West Philippine sea) conflict in the joint venture between Manila Hotel and the Chan Lim family of painters. It may not be as momentous as a territorial dispute, but I found yet another example of people to people cooperation. Here was the key to finding solutions. People must know each other not just in politics but in all other aspects of life possible. People to people is the best diplomacy and I daresay should be cultivated whether in conflict or out of conflict.

It was the first time I would meet the family but apparently they have established a reputation as teachers of Chinese painting.

On the part of the Manila Hotel they provided a banquet of traditional food for Chinese New Year.

At the centerpiece of the hall was a fish shaped tikoy. Mabuhay Palace executive chef Sun Bing and his team created a special set menu that includes an appetizer-to-dessert-themed feast for luck and prosperity. The 10-course set menu includes seafood dishes like Deep Fried Minced Shrimp Balls with Shrimp Glazed Almonds, Steamed Live Flambeed Garoupa, and Slow-Cooked Assorted Seafood Hot Pot, to name a few. Dessert includes fish-shaped tikoy sliced and fried for serving.

Along the corridors were fans painted in Chinese brush style by the family and their students. The Chan Lims have been giving Chinese painting lessons to all nationalities including ambassadors and prominent members of society. I began my first lesson after the lunch. As one of the students showed me how to hold the brush she said, being a student means that once you have learned it there are two things you must do — one is to exhibit your work and second is to teach it to others.

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Elizabeth Medina’s Thru the Lens of Latin America: A Wide Angle View of the Philippines Colonial Experience comes to mind.

She says something very relevant to my weekend of reading on the South China sea problem and becoming a student of Chinese painting.

“The final and greatest actor of history is the human whole — but a human whole that is made up of a constellation of sub protagonists right down to the individuals. Great men and women do not make history by themselves, but represent, interpret and make visible the unexpressed collective wishes of the larger human groups to which they belong. Neither do societies and nations float around in the stratosphere they exist within the context of great civilizations which in turn continuously undergo dynamic processes of birth, development and decline.”

– Carmen N. Pedrosa

On Nov. 19, I was privileged to join my husband, Vergel, at the lecture of journalist-historian Martin Jacques for his book “When China Rules the World.”

I have been able to read only a few of the 600-plus pages of it at a time, since Vergel seldom puts it down. And just as well, as the book’s main thesis scares me: It’s only a matter of time before China and its 1.3 billion people, with basic beliefs that run counter to those I hold, rule the world.

I’m still struggling to fit into any manner of acceptable culture the carnage at Tiananmen or the seemingly amoral push for market profit or the bullying of neighbors by a nation that claims to be more civilized than any other. In fact, Jacques attributes this last attitude, which it assumes over territorial disputes (with our country, for one) to a Chinese sense of racial superiority that regards all outsiders as barbarians.

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While President Aquino was making waves in the summit of  Asean leaders and their dialogue partners in Cambodia with his statement urging the United States to speak up on the South China Sea conflict which was anathema to China, visiting journalist and China expert, Martin Jacques, was telling a rapt audience at the Manila Intercon, “I don’t think it would serve the Philippine well to think that the United States will help” in the  territorial conflict with China.

“I am not arguing that the Philippines give up its claims, but a way has to be found to deal with these questions, a way that does not involve derailing or poisoining its relationship with China because it will not get anywhere,” he said.

Jacques is the author of the  2009 bestseller, When China Rules the World, which asserts that “by 2027 China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy, and by 2050 its economy will be twice as large as that of the United States.”

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Academician and former journalist Martin Jacques said in a lecture at the Hotel Intercon last Monday that the world will be less and less westernized and, instead, will be more influenced by China in the coming years.

Jacques is actually pursuing his main thesis in his best-selling book When China Rules the World that Chinese global hegemony is likely to grow over the next half-century.

Very few will contest Jacques’ prediction. It’s very evident that China’s economic growth has accelerated with the deepening of the West’s financial crisis, which is expected to last at least 10 more years. However, most Filipinos are admittedly among the very few that would not fall under Chinese influence. In this part of the globe, it’s the United States that continues to hold sway politically and culturally, the increasing aid from and bilateral trade with China notwithstanding.

Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, the longest-serving senator today, once said the Philippines should study China’s policies which have contributed to its economy’s resilience and growth during the current global financial crisis.

”We should look to China as our model and partner in energizing the countryside and empowering the rural areas. Developing the countryside and opening it up to foreign investments is an important step in boosting our national economy,” he said.

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President Benigno Aquino III on Monday night maintained that the United States should have a role in maintaining peace and stability in the disputed West Philippine Sea as it has interests there.

Although he said he is aware that the U.S. does not take sides in the disputes, Aquino said Washington has “a strategic stake in the freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

He said the Southeast Asian region is very diverse and its harmony can easily be disrupted by sheer political, military or economic might.

“Imbalance, as we know, may lead to instability,” said Aquino, who was in Cambodia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines must realize American decline in Asia and should mend its ties with China if it has any hope of resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea, a British academic and journalist said on Monday, November 19.

“It doesn’t serve the Philippines well to think, well maybe the Americans will give us some support,” renowned scholar and China expert Martin Jacques explained during a lecture sponsored by The Center for Philippine Futuristics Studies.

Jacques, author of bestseller When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, stressed that Manila should not expect results from a policy of assisting Washington in its so-called re-pivot towards Asia in exchange for help on the South China Sea.

“It’s a short-sighted game, because the wind is not blowing in this direction. The wind is blowing somewhere else,” he said in reference to China’s growing influence compared to America’s decline in the region.

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MANILA, Philippines – British economist, Cambridge University graduate and scholar Dr. Martin Jacques, author of the global bestselling book “When China Rules the World” and speaker at a lecture on Nov. 19 Monday 12:30 p.m. at Hotel Intercontinental in Makati City, said the United States needs to adjust to a new world order with a resurgent China becoming an equal and no longer a subordinate. He said the Philippines should “positively engage and benefit from the rise of China.”

When asked to comment on the South China Sea disagreements, Dr. Jacques urges Philippine government leaders “to de-escalate the territorial dispute with China” and follow the example of Malaysia which also has Spratley Islands disputes with China but both countries enjoy “good diplomatic and economic relations.”

Dr. Martin Jacques is a columnist for Britain’s The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and New Statesman. He is visiting fellow at London School of Economics Asia Research Center, visiting professor at Japan’s Aichi University, at China’s Renmin University and a visiting fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore (NUS).

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I’m halfway reading Martin Jacques’ book “When China Rules the World.” It predicts that by 2025, China’s economy will outrun all others (Japan, EU, etc.) and will be a close second to the United States. But by 2050, China will be way ahead with her economy doubly bigger than the US. India will be close behind while Indonesia will contend. All of today’s advanced countries will lag behind. Interesting reading.

It’s been three weeks now since the start of the standoff with China at Scarborough Shoal, a group of mostly submerged rocks in the West Philippine Sea that the Philippines and China are claiming as part of their respective territories. While a diplomatic way out of the impasse is being sought, a complex signaling exercise involving the deployment and withdrawal of maritime vessels is also going on. What further complicates matters is that the standoff began just a few days before the start of the US-Philippine joint military exercises. The Philippines insists the two events are unrelated, but that is not how the situation looks from a geopolitical perspective.

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You don’t pick a fight with someone bigger than you. But if you must defend yourself, you need to find an ally as big as he is, or get the backing of other small entities that may feel similarly threatened. Such support has its own costs. It may mean giving up certain things in return, or going against some cherished ideals.  That is what realpolitik is about. It may seek cover behind principles, but, in essence, it is political conduct based on a clear calculation of long-term interests and a sober recognition of the pragmatics of power. Realpolitik applies to persons as well as to states.

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Updated and expanded new Chinese edition just released.

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Turkish edition just published!

When China Rules the World is the first book to fully conceive of and explain the upheaval that China’s ascendance will cause and the realigned global power structure it will create.

New edition available now from:

Amazon UK
and all good booksellers.

US second edition is available now via: 

Amazon US