MANILA — Not a confusion but a miscalculation seems to be what happened when the Philippines pulled out its ships from Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) without China doing likewise.
Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario and the spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Raul Hernandez, initially told the press over the weekend when the Philippine ships were pulled out that they expected China to withdraw its ships as well from the disputed territory.
But China didn’t reciprocate, and denied that it had ever committed to pull out. Sen. Gregorio Honasan, a former military officer, said the Philippines might have “miscalculated” China. He said the Philippines should have contracted a “third-party mediator” to monitor the withdrawal. “Let’s avoid repeating these mistakes,” he said. “Let’s not be too impulsive in withdrawing (the country’s symbolic resistance) to Chinese incursions.”
Alas, the mistake may prove costly. And considering the earlier Philippine gaffes in staking territorial claims on the Spratlys and elsewhere, as well as the historically inept civil and external defense strategies of the military, the Bajo blooper is not surprising and is bound to be repeated.
The faux pas is both diplomatic and strategic. Del Rosario told reporters on Friday that China had agreed to withdraw all its vessels from Scarborough Shoal. When it became evident that China wasn’t budging, he said on Saturday that President Aquino had ordered the Philippine ships pulled out because of a coming typhoon.
Follow this link: Scarborough blooper exposes dilemma of the Philippines – China Post(source)
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