28 December 2015
In June, Philippine president Benigno Aquino condemned China for behaving like Nazi Germany in how it was staking claim over vast areas in the South China Sea. Five months later, in November, Manila assured Beijing that the contentious maritime dispute will not be discussed during a regional summit that it hosted.
The acquiescence to sweep things under the carpet belies true sentiments. Mr Aquino was probably still seething. So while he promised to be the perfect host at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, it did not quite extend to Chinese President Xi Jinping who was given the cold shoulder more than once.
Such passive aggressive behaviour is perhaps one way that smaller neighbouring countries have sought to show their displeasure with an increasingly assertive China. The other way is to seek solace from across the Pacific – the only other superpower that could protect them against the growing Chinese giant.
… “With many other policy priorities, neither the US nor China will allow the South China Sea issue to jeopardise overall bilateral relations,” said researcher Angela Poh from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), in an RSIS commentary.
GPO / Online / Print
Last updated on 29/12/2015