PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte has agreed to allow Chinese surveillance ships into Philippine waters.
Duterte said there was no incursion, particularly in Benham Rise, an underwater landmass off the east coast of Luzon and recognized by the United Nations as indisputably Philippine territory, because we have an agreement and that he did not want to “fight” with China because he wanted Chinese economic help.
“Let us not fight about ownership or sovereignty at this time because things are going great for this country,” Duterte told a press conference last Monday. He disclosed that the Philippines is set to enjoy billions of dollars in Chinese investments and grants.
Actually, when Duterte visited Beijing last year, he returned home with commitments for $15-billion worth of projects.
China and the Philippines have had a long-running dispute over competing claims in the South China Sea. Parts of that strategically vital waterway are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Duterte’s predecessors had challenged China in diplomatic and legal circles over the South China Sea dispute.
Duterte has reversed that policy, preparing instead to placate China in return for hoped-for billions of dollars worth of investments and grants.
By the way, Benham Rise is not part of Philippine national territory because we don’t have sovereignty over it, in the view of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
However, Justice Carpio explained, we have sovereign rights (less than sovereignty) over Benham Rise because we have exclusive right to explore and exploit the oil, gas and other mineral resources in it, which has been confirmed by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf as part of the Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) of the Philippines.
Other states, like China, have the right to conduct in Benham Rise fishery research because the fish in the ECS belongs to mankind; surveys on water salinity and currents because the water column in the ECS belongs to mankind; and depth soundings for navigational purposes because there is freedom of navigation in the ECS.
If the Chinese vessels were looking for submarine passages and parking spaces, that would be part of freedom of navigation and the Philippines has no reason to complain.
But if the Chinese vessels were conducting seismic surveys to look for oil, gas and minerals, then they could not do that because UNLCOS has reserved the oil, gas and minerals in the ECS to the Philippines.
President Donald Trump has demanded the resignation of US Attorneys, just like what happened during the last four Presidential administrations in Washington, D.C.
In fact, as explained by Erick Erickson of The Resurgent website, the US Attorney is a position that serves at the pleasure of the President and the President can hire and fire them as he wants.
If we look back, Erickson recalled, then President George W. Bush did it twice. He didn’t remove Democrat appointees, but his own. The same thing was done during the Clinton and Obama administrations.
At that time the media both expected and largely ignored the mass resignations because it happens with every administration.
The Trump administration is behaving no differently than the last several administrations, but this time the political left and media have decided to self-immolate whenever the President takes a breath, and they intend to milk every bit every action President Trump takes.
The reality is this, Erickson concluded, outrage about Donald Trump is driving media traffic. The more the media covers normal, everyday Trump actions as scandalous, the more traffic they will generate to their websites and television shows.
The firing of US Attorneys is normal at the beginning of every Presidential administration. It is routine. But when clicks are needed, the media will declare scandal, but the outrage is bull---.
Quote of the Day: “Political leaders must necessarily aim at reducing opposition to a minimum, and one of the most obvious means to that end is by discrediting their political opponents.. – Anon.