Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. has been in Beijing for bilateral meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi. The meetings have been successful with Locsin parsing China for presenting the developing world with a unique model for future development that is not reliant on the neo-colonial aspirations of western powers. Locsin stated:
“Without the new China there will be no prospect whatsoever for the developing world to grow into emerging economies. We would still be as we were throughout the second half of the last century. We were at the mercy of Western markets which on a whim can turn us away as they did throughout the post- and neo-colonial period.
There is no propulsion as strong as people power, but it demands the direction of a single hand… That hand is absent in Western democracy. That direction the Communist Party has supplied. No other institution anywhere in the world could do it”.
Wang then stated that China-Philippine relations are going through a productive period and that Beijing looks forward to welcoming Philippine officials to the forthcoming Belt and Road Forum in China.
But while the meeting between Wang and Locsin was proving to be successful, two former Filipino officials took a dramatic move to embarrassing their own nation. Former Filipino Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Noynoy Aquino’s Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario took the ludicrous move of filing a lawsuit against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court for alleged “crimes against humanity” in South China Sea territory.
This lawsuit is objectively ridiculous on several levels. First of all, neither The Philippines nor China are members of the International Criminal Court and therefore the court has no jurisdiction in matters of China-Philippine relations. Secondly, “crimes against humanity” require harm being done to humans and the South China Sea territories in question are not inhabited by humans.
Because of this serious disconnect with the facts on the ground, there are only two possibilities at hand. Either Carpio-Morales and del Rosario are supremely stupid or they are supremely wicked. If they were unaware that “crimes against humanity” require the presence of human harm and if they were unaware that neither China nor their own country are in the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction, then one must ask how they ever held major government positions. But if they did know these basic facts, then they are guilty of trying to openly sabotage China-Philippine relations at a time when President Rodrigo Duterte remains firmly committed to a dialogue based approach to South China Sea issues which prioritises an economically win-win China-Philippine relationship over one based on mistrust and caution.
The fact is that any Filipino who is willing to risk war with China over South China Sea issues is the true criminal who is endangering humanity. If The Philippines were to make war upon China alone, it would mean the end of The Philippines for self-evident reasons. If The Philippines were to drag the US into a regional war against China, it is unlikely that China or the US would risk targeting each other’s mainlands, but both would end up combating one another in and around The Philippines. The result would not be thousands of dead Americans or Chinese, but it could very likely mean thousands if not tens of thousands of dead Filipinos.
Luckily, such horrifying scenarios will not happen so long as President Duterte is in charge. As a genuine humanitarian, Duterte realises that what the Filipino people need most is the elevating of their economic condition. This can only transpire in a peaceful environment that forgoes conflict with fellow ASEAN members and with China.
Duterte has developed a model of ASEAN-Chinese dialogue that is helping to not only improve China-Philippine relations but is also helping to improve China-Vietnam relations. Those in The Philippines who oppose this dignified, win-win approach to regional issues are putting their own country in danger for literally no reason at all.
The timing of the frivolous lawsuit was clearly designed to undermine the current Foreign Secretary of The Philippines during a meeting with what is realistically the most important bilateral partner of The Philippines. Such disgraceful behaviour should not be allowed to tar the image of The Philippines in the eyes of the country’s contemporary partners.