Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has arrived in Beijing to rescue his policy towards China, which has made his country's sovereignty more vulnerable to foreign attacks, exposing his neighbors to a new degree of brinkmanship in the South China Sea and embarrassing him local critics.
Duterte and several high-ranking Filipino officials, including Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin, arrived late Wednesday for his planned bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Chinese capital.
Meeting on Friday with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. It is Duther's fifth visit to China.
Despite his great popularity in the country and his great affection for China, Duterte is increasingly under pressure to repress his growing maritime assertiveness.
After avoiding the problem for three years, he promised to make an international arbitration decision with Xi in 201
An incident in June involving Filipino fisherman and a Chinese ship The Philippines' exclusive economic zone has also infuriated the public and highlighted Duterte's close relations with Beijing.
Prior to his trip, the owner of the Chinese trawler, who hit and sank the fishing boat, apologized on Thursday for the incident, but added that it was an "accidental mistake." They also pledged to compensate the Philippine fishermen for the damage.
Dutterter's spokesman, who traveled with him to Beijing, said the apology had been accepted.
Duttert's journey takes place against the background of increasing tensions on several fronts. Chinese ships are challenging the power and maritime borders of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines and calling for warnings and reprimands by the United States accusing China of "forced interference". and kidnapping of $ 2.5 trillion in oil and gas.
China calls this "unqualified criticism" with distorted facts According to experts, the motivation is to condemn public unease over its refusal to speak out against a deeply distrustful China and the disappointments of a defense company that begins to find its own voice fight.
Beijing's & # 39; firm belief & # 39; to Duterte
If that's all, then this is just a cynical political game. But it could be effective in marking the beginning of a concerted effort to increase diplomatic costs for Beijing because of its poor behavior. "said Greg Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, a think tank in Washington.
to gather international support."
"This is going to be a big challenge … but it's the only option that could actually work . "
It would require a turnaround by Duterte that caused a storm in 2016 when he announced his" separation "from the US's closest ally in favor of a bumper business relationship with Beijing worth billions of loans and investments. Most of this has yet to be realized.
In return, Duterte abolished lavish praise for Xi, lifted the arbitral award, and helped keep it out of the regional agenda. This created an environment that allowed China to develop its navy, coastguard and fishing fleet and to further militarize its artificial islands.
A commentary from Xinhua Chinese news agency on Wednesday said that Xi and Duterte have "a strong belief and a strong desire to bridge their differences and push aside any distractions."
After an initial reassurance tensions have resurfaced this year, and the Chinese Coast Guard has tracked down an oil rig on the continental shelf of Malaysia near an oil block in Viet Nam's Exclusive Economic Zone run by Russia's Rosneft Unannounced movements of Chinese warships in The 19.3 km long waters of the Philippines have upset the military and raised concerns about espionage.  4] Duterte warns you to speak & # 39;
Some diplomats and analysts say that building a united position against China's militarization is still possible despite China's strengthened hand. Asian states and Japan, as observers of the Hague Arbitration, showed that there was considerable support and a "compelling allegation to those who doubt that international justice exists and will exist ".
Chief Justice of the Philippines, Antonio Carpio, has represented this Southeast Asian position. Countries carry out navigational and overflight-free activities along with those of the United States, Japan, India and the United Kingdom.
However, according to Jay Batongbacal, an expert on the South China Sea, it would be difficult to find a common approach. He said Duterte had weakened the international position by allowing China to consolidate power "without interference or even without our interest."
Much depended on China's actions and on whether the Western powers were convinced that Duterte and other Southeast Asian leaders were ready to confront Beijing.
"If China pushes, there's a chance we'll agree on that verdict," he told the news channel ANC.
"If we do not comment, they will not be able to accept one." stronger position. "