Is Philippine President Duterte playing the United States and China?

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By Raïssa Robles - Here is my think piece that came out today in South China Morning Post (HK)'s This Week in Asia Section. It is based on interviews with our former United Nations Permanent Representative Lauro Baja, our NEW UN Permanent Representative Teodoro Locsin, Jr., a stock market analyst who preferred not to be named and Rodel Rodis whose group in the US has been accused of plotting to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

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Yasay speaks for me and I trust him – President Duterte

Hmmm. I wonder why President Duterte felt the need to go on the air himself to squelch rumors that Yasay was out. - President Rodrigo Duterte's Statement on Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Malacañan Palace, Good afternoon.

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Are you going to Scarborough Shoal?

Or how South China Sea ruling affects Filipino and Chinese fishermen - Exclusive By Dr. Alfredo C. Robles, Jr. - I hope the following will only be the first of several pieces summarizing different aspects of the Award in the Philippines v. China arbitration and explaining their implications. As I was writing this, I could not help but recall the first ever lectures I had in my life on international law and the law of the sea that I attended (in French!) at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies) in 1980-81.

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Prof. Joma Sison told me China’s reputation will be damaged if it defies South China Sea court ruling

Yesterday, as part of a reaction story I was asked to write for South China Morning Post, I asked Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison for his reaction to the ruling. Here is what he gave me. I was able to use a small portion of it. So I thought I would post his entire statement. - raissa

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How to read the 501-page tribunal ruling on the South China Sea


My brother-in-law can't help being the professor that he is. This morning, he excitedly told me that he had finished a short piece on how to read the 501-page ruling. Has he read it, I asked him, because I wanted him to write about it. He said he would need to print out everything first in order to examine it page by page. That's how thorough he is. Meanwhile, he'd like to share this guide with his former International Studies students and with anyone who is interested to wade through this formidable ruling, which China has dismissed as "garbage" and mere scraps of paper. I was lucky enough to get Professor Jose Maria Sison's reaction to the ruling. But not those of former President Benigno Aquino III and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario :( I will post Sison's reaction separately, as well as what Chinese experts are saying about this momentous issue. - raissa

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Why China has not lambasted the foreign lawyers representing the Philippines in the South China Sea arbitration


Now read about the five foreign lawyers. - Today, the Chinese news agency Xinhua posted a piece about the "law-abusing tribunal" that is about to release its decision on the South China Sea arbitration in a matter of hours. Strangely, though, Chinese officials and the state media have not resorted to name-calling the five foreign lawyers whom the Philippines hired as legal counsel for the arbitration suit. At the end of this piece, which examines the lawyers' credentials, Dr. Alfredo C. Robles gives a plausible explanation for Beijing's profound silence.

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Meet the five Judges in the South China Sea arbitration court

China has been aggressively trolling the five judges of the Tribunal without let-up, calling them names, casting doubt on their credentials and dismissing their imminent collective ruling as 'garbage'. Altogether, the judges combine nearly two centuries worth of legal knowledge. However, this ruling can still make or break them. In other words, the judges' individual, professional reputation is on the line with this decision. Even as I write this, their deed is done. The only thing left to do is to spell check their ruling, lay it out and get it ready for uploading in 24 hours. While the conflict has obtained a lot of media mileage, there have been few write-ups on the judges themselves who seem to be mostly legal scholars born before the Second World War or immediately afterward. They have seen how nations went to war over disputes and how they tried to settle differences through negotiations or arbitration. I asked my brother-in-law, a retired De la Salle University professor of international studies, to write something about the five judges: who they are, what they have done in life and what they have contributed to dispute settlements.

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Exclusive: China secretly lobbied with arbitral court to scrap Philippine suit on South China Sea

But the tribunal courteously rebuffed the approach - By Alfredo C. Robles, Jr. - Permanent-Court-of-Arbitration-logoChina has intensified its diplomatic campaign against the arbitration. In the last few months China has even targeted the members of the Tribunal, accusing them of “fail[ing] to be impartial” and of being “careless” and “irresponsible. Thankfully we do not owe this extraordinary outburst to a member of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Protocol Department but to a deputy director-general of the Ministry’s Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs. Although courtesy was probably far from the mind of Xiao Jianguo, he should have remembered that modicum of explanation for such grave accusations was necessary. Regrettably the only justification provided in the press release was that “many loopholes could be found in its award”, a statement followed by a repetition of the same arguments that China has been trotting out on any and every occasion. Lately, China has even taken to describing the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) as a "law-abusing" tribunal whose ruling would be "a piece of trash paper".

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