It’s a tensed time in the South China Sea region and concerned parties are continuing to look for ways for a peaceful resolution rather than an aggressive one. Surprisingly, many are pinning hopes that soon-to-be president, Rodrigo Duterte, could bring something to the table to resolve the matter.
Rodrigo Duterte Offers Hope?
The South China Sea region offers countries an enormous economic potential thus nations vying rights over. As China continues to draw opposition for its territorial ambitions, hopes are pinned to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. The new president is perceived to be friendlier to China than outgoing President Benigno Aquino III. In fact, China commended Duterte’s foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay Jr for his amenable stance to bilateral talks.
According to Rappler, there is a divided view on the matter. Some see Duterte’s friendliness to China as submission while others see it as a way to ease tensions. Furthermore, another report from Inquirer suggested that diplomats have approach Duterte for a dialogue with China.
Ambassador Rosario Manalo, who took the top post for the High Level Task Force on Asean charter, emphasized that while discussions may be too late considering the buildup China did in the South China Sea, a dialogue could possibly help ease the tensions.
“We should negotiate (with China), although it is a bit too late because of China’s buildup. Under international law, the country who has physical control is the owner,” said Manalo.
China Warming Up to the Philippines over South China Sea?
Another report from the South China Morning Post said that Foreign Minister Wang Yi is pleased to accommodate the seemingly warming relations with the Philippines. Duterte once said that China’s Xi Jinping was a great president. The former, on other hand, said in a congratulatory note that bilateral ties should “get back on the track of sound development.”
It is too early to say what will happen yet but analysts did say that Duterte’s stance over the dispute is a sharp departure from what Aquino has maintained during his term.