Manila Philippines – Former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos recently stated that the Philippines was in a very unique position now to be the mediator between the US and China because of our cultural ties. We should take care of our advantage of being in between the US and China. It is a great advantage that we can even prevent any shooting war.
Recent pronouncements by both China and the United States have been hardening where the risk of miscalculation could lead to an unavoidable military engagement. The United States has clearly stated that it will ensure freedom of navigation within the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea. President Obama recently announced that the United States supports the Philippines in the peaceful resolution of conflicts and its case in the Hague. China on the other hand continued to proclaim its absolute sovereignty in the South China Sea and has repeatedly stated that China is within its rights to develop their outcrops and areas in their actual control.
Pronouncements made by Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte may have disturbed some US officials when he stated that the Philippines cannot go against China and that it was the US fault that China has been able to develop its outposts there. Duterte said that if he becomes President he will not go into a shooting war with China.
ASEAN Foreign Ministers as well British, Australian and Japanese governments have raised concerns about the actions of China in the South China Sea. The United States have responded by sending a small fleet of combat ships to the area and ensure the safety of fishermen from all claimant nations against China.
For his part, President Benigno Aquino III has always stressed the Philippines stand that it will abide by the arbitration process under the UNCLOS.
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