Big Summits, Old Problems
Image Credit: Flickr (US State Department)

Big Summits, Old Problems


Outgoing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao returned to Beijing this week office after disappointing ASEAN and East Asia summits that failed to live-up to years of diplomatic posturing and positioning, designed to protect his country’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea.

The pro-Beijing lobby will no doubt praise his efforts in Cambodia where China successfully thwarted attempts by Southeast Asian countries to unite on the South China Sea issue.

But behind closed doors the honest power-brokers will be forced to admit that at best Beijing achieved a year-long stalemate before a significant political shift within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which will not be to its liking.

Wen’s departure also signaled an ignoble end to Cambodia’s controversial year as chair of ASEAN, marked by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s extraordinary efforts to please Beijing that exposed deep and acrimonious divisions within the 10-member bloc.

China has invested heavily in Cambodia with Chinese companies investing $8.2 billion in the poverty-stricken country since 2006 alone, not to mention the billions in aids and soft loans that Beijing has given to Hun Sen’s government with no strings attached.

Such magnanimity is rare but seemed questionable over the last six months with China leaning on Phnom Penh to protect Beijing’s interests within ASEAN on the thorny issue of the Spratly and Paracel islands.

China claims almost the entire resource rich South China Sea, including the Paracel islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam. The Spratly Islands and the sea lanes of communications, where half the world’s trade passes, are claimed in whole or in part by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and the Philippines.

From the outset Cambodia tried to paper over the cracks that first appeared at an ASEAN summit in July by publicly announcing that Southeast Asian delegates had early on unanimously agreed to not “internationalize” the festering dispute.


[...] issue also divided ASEAN like never before. Several ASEAN members have overlapping claims with China in the South China Sea. Throughout the [...]

December 5, 2012 at 05:58

@JC, D
o I have moral authority? No more than you do. Anybody who has a different opinion is entitled to it. It's another matter entirely when you imply or explicitly insult whoever disagrees with you. What I've seen you do so far is instead of attacking the logic, you tend to attack whoever is arguing with you. Which is ironic after you claimed before that this place is a forum. You don't go around insulting people in a forum.
And for criticizing the West? I've said my piece before. The American war machine is too aggressive, wasteful of taxpayer's money, and the US government has had an unfortunate history of meddling, as can be seen in Central America and Africa. But do I need to mention those with my every breath? No. Unless an article or comment I'm responding to, there's no point in muddying up the waters.
However, if you define criticisms as finger pointing, in the classic Communist sense, then we have a problem. I don't find such criticism as constructive. If anything, it's destructive. Case in point is your Cultural Revolution. Has anyone counted how many intellectuals were criticized to death? But I digress.
Now that I've said my piece, can you criticize China as well? I know that aside from your culture that nearly died decades ago, there are still some other things to praise China for. It's people's obedience, and dedication to hard work. It's cuisine. Now, can you point out the bad things with your government and ways that your people can improve? I can point out a few for my own people, the Filipinos. Can you do the same for your people? And at the same time, can you point out the good in the West? Unless you do so, you would be thought of as an ultra-nationalist instead of a thinking person. And in my book, an ultra-nationalist is the same as a religious fanatic or zealot. You have simply replaced ideology/nationality with religion.
Let me guess. You'll say I'm playing with words again?

December 4, 2012 at 23:16

@JC The International law as prescribed by the United Nations, which I remind you are a member of. The same United Nations who set International Law by Consensus of the General Assembly. Hence, Mr. JC it is binding to all members of the UN if you think China is not obligated or covered by said "West Pac" International law then you and China is welcome to opt out of the United Nations and give the Veto Power seat back to Taiwan.

December 4, 2012 at 06:04

The blindest are those who have eyes but refuse to see.

December 3, 2012 at 08:40

@john chan
You’re telling me that I’m giving meaningless rhetoric and vic is the one who are on frank debate this is ridiculous. Vic debating here with smearing tactics against to anyone who does not goes along with chinese posers like you. I’m debating here basing my opinion on truthful information opposite than vic which he always telling lies same as you are.

John Chan
December 2, 2012 at 03:13

No one said the Philippine needed to show gratitude to China about those aids and loans, it is just Aquino’s behaviour makes no sense, because none of other ASEAN nations behave like him, even Vietnam kept a low profile. Then based on what the USA has done in the Central and South Americas, the possible conclusion is that Aquino is compromised, he is not behaving for the interest of the Philippines but for his own.
BTW, you can have either a frank debate or meaningless rhetoric, but not both. vic gave a frank debate but you gave meaningless rhetoric.

December 2, 2012 at 00:22

@john chan
How come you preached about international laws if you are not living to it. First don’t accuse that international laws are created by western imperialist but they are created by the binding of different minds of different nation so the idea of contract will enter that would provide peace and order to promote prosperity and harmonious realationship in order to make it possible they should follow and live through it so the idea of law will enter to it. Second China does not recognize the international law but theirs only unless if it favors to them just what happen few months ago when China refuses on Philippines request to bring their disputes into the international court because they know in their hearts and minds that they cannot win this arbitration because their claims are not real. So they brute force by sending military vessel to scare away fishing vessels.

December 2, 2012 at 00:11

@john chan
You’re statements are completely a lie and your just ranting anit-west sentiments those who don’t go along the desires of China
And may I give you a correction Aquino didn’t turn away from China when US announce their pivot by 2020, because China undermined their relationship to Philippines when she pushed her interest on SCS claiming that the entire sea including the island and shores within on overlapping EEZs of different countries in SEA region, most especially for Philippines. China ultimately disrespect Philippines that they should have bilateral talks only with China to resolves the dispute which clearly shows that China is not recognizing UNCLOS, recognized international body, which Philippines stronlgy abiding this law. Because of China’s aggressive action Aquino decided to protect Filipinos right and move away their interest to China.
When you said about China signed with Aquino during his first year term for billions of dollar to help Philippines all these money didn’t went into waste or their pockets but may I tell you the truth this year China took back their aid to PH when their relationship became worse then they even asking to payback the amount of money that they gave to PH meaning PH has debt ot China which in first place this is just an aid only. And now PH still paying of the total amount of debt to show to China that they have dignity and respect should never be stepped down.

Filipino defender
December 1, 2012 at 23:18

just other Chinese lie

John Chan
December 1, 2012 at 14:22

Are you claiming you have the moral authority? Anybody who has opinion different from yours is automatically at the wrong, you should know that people has such attitude is dictatorian.
Are you sure you can criticize the West? Why haven’t I seen you do it? Would you agree it is word does not match action? What shall we call such discrepancy?
My comments are at least based on something, but are you saying whatever you said is baseless, fabricating thru thin air? So you are bashing China out of hate and discrimination?

John Chan
December 1, 2012 at 13:42

Whose “International Law?” The so called current international law was written by the imperialist West to protect their unfair advantages meanwhile depriving fairness to the others; besides any law can be changed by anyone who has the means to change it; democracy is all about who has the right to change the laws to fit their needs.
Why does the West need to be above the law? Because they make sure the law says the restrictions of the law applies to others not them, it is called legalized above law in the Western legal system.

John Chan
December 1, 2012 at 13:04

China signed billions dollars of agreements with Aquino when he first took office, and the Scarborough Shoal ambiguities has been going on for years, but after the USA announced its pivoting to Asia, suddenly Aquino turned bellicose against China openly.
So what makes Aquino to take an about-turn and put all those billions of dollars benefits in jeopardy? While the Philippines gets nothing good out by “face down” China openly.
In according to the track records what the USA did in the Central and South Americas to coerce those nations into submissive, USA must took same actions (assassination, payout, coup d’état, etc.)  to coerce Aquino into cooperation and act as USA’s stalking horse.
“American does not have allies, but only tools, once a tool is done, selling the tool is American way of life.” The Filipinos are not one of their kind and the Philippines does not have the value to be qualified as an ally in the eyes of the ruling elite of the world imperialist hegemon.

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