Wednesday, September 19, 2012

PNoy Taps Track II Diplomacy with Senator Trillanes as China Allows UN Resolution over Conflicts with Japan

Malacañang is opting for another tack in resolving the China-Philippines stand-off in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea as PNoy taps Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to do some backchannel diplomacy to negotiate for a peaceful settlement over the conflict. This had come in the continued failure of DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario to find solution to the problem as his approaches were often obstructed by the Chinese hierarchy over there at Beijing.

While del Rosario agrees that back-channeling could be an effective means of diplomacy, he insisted that the Philippine side should ensure that its comes up with a unified voice. He also pointed out his hesitation over the selection of Trillanes as negotiator towards Beijing as his reputation belies the need for a peaceful resolution to the matters at hand, being the leader of the Oakwood Mutiny in 1997 one that had sought to topple down the regime of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. And according to del Rosario, Trillanes had been public about his opposition to any peaceful resolution to the conflicts in the disputed areas.

Now this would be alarming as Malacañang could be sending the wrong signal in assigning Trillanes to do the talking with China. We could not actually afford a military confrontation with China in any case.

If at all this plan to assign the senator to speak in behalf of the Philippines, then Trillanes should make clear his peaceful stance ion the matters involved or else, it would just be a unworkable effort and wasteful endeavor for the country.

Back-channeling is a useful method of diplomacy wherein conversations could be embark upon even not in face-to-face manner, such as through letters, emails and online live conversations over the Internet.
This kind of diplomacy is often called Track II diplomacy wherein entities tapped to negotiate or communicate by one country to another are not part of the members of diplomatic corps of the country.
This is a kind of diplomacy where usually non-officials are being sent to for conflict resolution or for confidence building.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs had been made aware that China had most recently agreed to put for United Nation resolution through the United Nation Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) its territorial conflict with Japan over Senkaku Islands. the one hand, China remains to refuse to put the West Philippine Sea disputes for arbitration in international courts.

This has prompted Albay Governor Joey Salceda to comment in an email to the Philippine Inquirer:

“China goes to Unclos because Japan will and can fight. (But) China refuses to bring the Spratlys and Panatag (conflicts) to Unclos (b)ecause (it) knows that the Philippines will not and cannot fight,”

He added: “there are no spontaneous rallies of outrage [here]. There is not even a boycott of China-made products, how much more a shooting war?”

But this most recent development could actually bring hope to our cause now that we’ve learned that China after all can bend with its stance on territorial disputes it is involves in as it does now with Japan. Maybe, with more persistence and focus, we could bring China into the negotiating table and through international arbitration.



  1. I think its about time that we should also fought China if they refuse to have a peace talk regarding Spratly

  2. I agree with Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, Japan has the resources and capacity to fight weapon to weapon with China that it why China opted to settle the disputed Island with UNCLOS. What about the Philippines? I agrees with you "We could not actually afford a military confrontation with China in any case." Our military equipments are vintage while China has long been developing new weapons =)

  3. @ Chrisair: That's a nice idea hehe...but I think we'd be having a very hard time fighting a military giant :-)

  4. @ Journey ni Ikoy: Yeah, that's the frustrating thing about it, we are so undermined by our weakness on this conflict.

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