What is up with President Rodrigo Duterte?
First it was the Benham Rise, where the Philippines won’t send the army or the field researchers on it. As the Chinese have named the area and several government leaders are we’re at one point saying that the Republic wasn’t sovereign to have control over it. Therefore, they have already shown deep weakness towards Beijing. They have accepted to muffled and tussled with by Xi Jinping and his brigades, as the Philippines are less powerful, than the Chinese.
Secondly, Duterte has again shown that he is this weak, as the war-planes and war-ships are put into the South China Sea, as the administration will not react or make a diplomatic spat with them. Even if this is military movement in the nearby area or anything else. Its like he has lost the power of sovereign nation and become a groveling poor uncle to the grandest family member in Beijing. Rodrigo just have to bow his knees and kiss the ring. Accept to be violated and played with, instead of standing ground on the principals of his state. That is not going to war, but questioning the motive of Beijing. Since, they are putting a lot of force close to its borders. That should worry him as the President of his Republic.
“The Philippines said it is “closely monitoring developments” in the area, but diplomatic actions against China’s intrusive behavior will not be publicized. “It is not our policy to publicize every action taken by the Philippine government whenever there are reported developments taking place in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said. The department noted the improved relations between China and the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte and said it will avoid steps that could undermine the situation. “Moving forward, we are taking a different approach to avoid any drawbacks and challenges,” the department said. Duterte on Saturday said he cannot do anything to oppose China’s militarization of the islands and that he would not risk deploying forces in the South China Sea. However, he said he will eventually bring up the dispute later in his term” (Mikhail Flores – ‘Philippines stops short of condemning China over bombers’ 21.05.2018, Asia Nikkei).
This here shows how careful the Philippines are with their powerful neighbor. They might do something later, they accept to kicked in the guts by the Chinese and trying to keep cool. Usually, Duterte is a hot-head who speak his mind first and begs for forgiveness. Therefore, this is a bit weird coming from him and his administration. He has no trouble getting rid of enemies and people who questioning his powers. However, the Chinese can power-play and mock him even, in his backyard with their military force.
You can wonder if the promised Chinese investments deals and aid agreements are the reasons for this carefulness, as well as the lack of territorial integrity on Benham Rise and now with the militarization of the South China Sea. It is like the Chinese are not as friendly as it seems, more like they want to show their strength and not play on others people’s terms, but their own. If they are toying around with the Philippines and showing whose the boss.
It must hurt the pride of Duterte, who likes to be the strong-man, the big-man, the ones whose words matters and decrees are honored. Now, he is played around by Beijing and has to anticipate his next actions. That is not typical Duterte, not at all.
A humiliation doesn’t fit him or his republic well, it is weird. Peace.