THE final time I wrote on the South China Sea (SCS) dispute again in yr 2014, I predicted that the dispute would develop into a battle of public diplomacy between China and the Philippines. I wrote then:
“Each nations must make use of public diplomacy to successfully talk with publics world wide as a way to get their insurance policies or positions understood and supported by the worldwide group.
Alan Henrikson, professor of diplomatic historical past, defines public diplomacy as ‘the conduct of worldwide relations by governments via public communications media and thru dealings with a variety of nongovernmental entities . . . for the aim of influencing the politics and actions of different governments.’”
On this battle, China’s sources and attain are huge. Its communications reaches all corners of the globe. It has media defenders and advocates on each entrance. Against this, the Philippines engages now solely in restricted public diplomacy. A lot of our effort seems directed to US media and publics, owing to reliance on the companies of employed US PR companies and the help of the US authorities.
Whatever the uneven relation of forces, nonetheless, Philippine prospects in this type of battle are excellent. Overseas Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Protection Secretary Delfin Lorenzana mustn’t weary of the combat they’ve spiritedly waged thus far. They need to take coronary heart and preserve the stress on China to tug out its vessels from the Julian Felipe Reef.
The necessity for a strategic plan has develop into extra compelling as a result of China adopted this yr a extra strident and combative tone, not solely within the SCS problem, however in its overseas coverage as an entire. The change is encapsulized within the time period, “wolf warrior diplomacy,” which suggests a brand new creature on the block.
David and Goliath issue
Beneath regular circumstances, based on public relations professionals, the little man (David) has a very good likelihood of profitable a public relations battle towards a vastly stronger adversary (Goliath). Public sympathy instinctively strains up with the underdog as a result of he’s puny and faces robust odds. There’s instinctive rooting towards the stronger aspect.
The rule rings true in worldwide politics, enterprise and sports activities. Wherever public opinion and sentiments have a say, the pendulum swings towards David. No one loves Goliath.
I take into consideration the biblical story as I see our nation more and more bullied on this public spat with China over our unique financial zone (EEZ) within the South China Sea. And I dearly hope that worldwide opinion will favor David on this spat, because it has in different worldwide disputes.
The analogy doesn’t essentially apply within the present dispute between the Philippines and China within the SCS. The phrase warfare should be received by formal and superior arguments, and by the astute artwork of persuasion and communications savvy. The Philippines should have stable stones to load in its slingshot, understanding that China will possible have many weapons.
Define for PH public diplomacy
The Philippine authorities ought to design and craft a full program for public diplomacy regarding the row with China over the Spratlys.
This system needs to be damaged down into key methods, place papers, paperwork, actions and initiatives that may be applied by the Division of Overseas Affairs and the Presidential Communications Workplace collectively.
The strategic goal needs to be to venture the Philippines’ place within the strongest and greatest gentle, and conversely to show the weak point of China’s claims within the dispute.
Offhand, I can consider a lot of components that needs to be thought-about important elements of this system:
A claimant far, distant
1. Begin with mapping and a measure of distances. Is the world even conscious of the outstanding and compelling proven fact that China is “far, distant” from the Spratlys. The info are these: “The Spratly Islands, of which the Julian Felipe Reef is an element, are positioned 120 miles west of the Philippine island of Palawan. In distinction, they’re positioned 900 miles south of the Chinese language island of Hainan, which is the closest Chinese language territory to the Spratlys.
In additional distinction, the opposite claimants from the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) can not less than speak of proximity to the Spratlys: Vietnam, 230 miles away; Malaysia and Brunei, 150 miles away.
Why is China, 900 miles away, laying a declare right here in any respect?
For a lot of, this has all the time been the outrageous and incomprehensible a part of China’s extravagant claims within the SCS.
2. Unclos defines the rights of countries — The United Nations Conference on the Regulation of the Sea (Unclos), whose most up-to-date constitution got here into drive in November of 1994, constitutes the present foundation of worldwide legislation within the South China Sea disputes.
All claimants within the South China Sea disputes, together with China, are signatories to Unclos, which units forth clear legal guidelines for the waters surrounding the territories of nation-states. All laws are established from the baseline of sovereign and inhabited islands. Authorized maritime rights when it comes to Unclos are derived from the standing of land options, that are the point of interest of claims made to islands within the South China Sea by Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and different Asean claimants.
Unclos provisions and regulation areas cowl: a) territorial waters — 12 nautical miles from low-water line, can use all sources and set all laws; b) contiguous waters — 12 nautical miles past territorial water boundary, can implement solely taxation, immigration, customs and air pollution laws; c) unique financial zone, or EEZ — 200 nautical miles from low-water line, has exploitative rights to all pure sources. Can regulate however should preserve freedom of maritime navigation and overflight.
The Spratlys claims of the Philippines and different Asean states make particular reference to their EEZs.
China’s declare has nothing to do with EEZ.
3. China’s historic claims — China’s maritime claims to the area should not primarily based on a declare to land options and due to this fact doesn’t fall inside the authorized maritime framework of Unclos.
China’s authorized declare rests on an assertion of first discovery within the second century CE (Tang, 1991). China additionally asserts that the South China Sea was mapped by Chinese language students within the third century CE and that archaeological proof from a number of islands match Han dynasty period artifacts (inserting them within the early second century CE).
4. The ruling of Worldwide Courtroom of Arbitration governing maritime disputes in its judgment of the Philippine go well with earlier than the tribunal, dominated that in authorized phrases China’s historic claims are wholly irrelevant to territorial and maritime disputes within the South China Sea.
The arbitral ruling buried ceaselessly China’s nine-dash-line map. Even so, China continues to say the relevance of its historic claims. The prevailing debate over Chinese language historic claims is whether or not they’re related to the present-day territorial and worldwide waters within the South China Sea.
On the time of the ruling, the good majority of states in a public ballot, expressed their help for the PCA resolution.
5. China claims rights of archipelagic states.
In an insightful paper for the Lowy Institute in Australia, Oriana Skylar Maestro offered intimately how China is bending the principles within the South China Sea.
She writes that as a way to again its declare to 90 % of the South China Sea, China desires to have the identical rights as archipelagic states, these nations primarily made up of islands. “One of many advantages of archipelagic standing is that the waters between islands are thought-about inner waters, like rivers inside a rustic. Different nations don’t have any proper to transit these waters with out permission. This archipelagic standing is conferred via the United Nations and solely 22 nations declare it.”
The Philippines is certainly one of them.
Confronted with unfavorable worldwide opinion on its claims and navy constructions within the South China Sea, China has adopted a extra strident and combative tone in its overseas coverage. It has launched an aggressive program of public diplomacy to vary worldwide perceptions of its authorities. This has concerned profitable governments via loans and financial help. It has been coopting media organizations, journalists and lecturers in overseas nations.
Dubbed as “wolf-warrior diplomacy,” this new method consists of a shift inside Chinese language diplomacy from conservative, passive and low-key to assertive, proactive and excessive profile.
The title was taken from two movies, “Wolf Warrior” and ”Wolf Warrior II,” Chinese language motion blockbusters that spotlight brokers of Chinese language particular operation forces. They’ve boosted nationwide satisfaction and patriotism amongst Chinese language viewers.
In keeping with an analyst of the Diplomat, “wolf warrior diplomacy” describes offensives by Chinese language diplomats to defend China’s nationwide pursuits, usually in confrontational methods.
Why is China resorting to wolf-warrior diplomacy?
The suspicion of many is that the target is to deflect blame for the origination of the coronavirus in China and the Chinese language Communist Get together’s suppression of data on the outbreak.
Within the row over the 200 Chinese language ships on the Julian Felipe Reef, the wolf warrior type has been in stark show.
The Chinese language embassy flatly says that the Julian Felipe Reef is the Niu’e Jiao, part of the Nansha Qundao, China’s title for the Spratly Islands, which belongs to China.
The Reef is inside the Philippine unique financial zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, over which the nation enjoys the unique proper to use or preserve any sources, which embody each dwelling sources similar to fish and nonliving sources similar to oil and pure fuel.