Philippines Takes New Aim at China
From Asia Times
By Richard Javad Heydarian
After a year of failed multilateralism and bilateral brinkmanship, the Philippines has abandoned hope of pressing China into a compromise on territorial disputes in the South China Sea. While Manila’s recent decision to submit its case for United Nations mediation ups the diplomatic ante, Beijing’s out-of-hand rejection of the move indicates tensions could rise before they wane.
After a year of diplomatic deadlock at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under the chairmanship of Cambodia, one of China’s staunchest regional allies, few expect a swift and decisive multilateral resolution under Brunei’s more neutral leadership in 2013 considering the significant divisions that have opened inside the 10-member grouping.
Based on the proceedings and outcomes of regional summits and gatherings held last year, Manila has come to realize the extent to which China is willing to use its multiple levers of influence to thwart any efforts at forging a unified regional response to the maritime disputes. Beijing has consistently insisted that the disputes should be settled exclusively through bilateral mechanisms.
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