A stronger typhoon called Xi Jinping
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 25, 2018 - 12:00am

The stronger threat to the country and to the people earlier this week was, to my mind, not Tropical Depression Samuel. It was rather the auspicious visit of the great leader of China -- President Xi Jinping.

His visit drove a deeper wedge in between the precarious foreign relations of the Philippines and the USA. While I fully trust our own head of state and head of government, giving President Rody Duterte the presumption of regularity, I have my apprehensions that Beijing is more and more making headway in its strategic thrust to make the Philippines an important factor in its foreign policy in Southeast Asia. I know that our president is a poker player, trying to portray a pro-China stance, as a psy-war posturing so that the US should learn to value Philippine American relations more and hopefully treat us with more respect and with parity, instead of the usual patronizing condescension.

Who is President Xi Jinping that we should be wary with his aggressive diplomacy in Asia and the Pacific? He is just 65 years old compared to President Duterte who is 73. But this younger leader is the president of the People’s Republic of China, the chairman of the Communist Party, and chairman of his country's Military Commission, aside from his prime post in the Politburo. The vast Chinese territory and giant land mass vitally needs the South China Sea as the only maritime gateway into the whole world. Xi's coming into the Philippines is a giant step never been done by his illustrious predecessors. The historic visit to Manila was never done by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. President Xi achieved a landmark victory in the pursuit of China’s foreign policy in this part of the world.

We should never forget that for more than 100 years, since 1898, when by the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippine islands to USA, our country and leaders have remained the most loyal, if subservient, ally of the Americans in Asia. We hosted an American naval base in Subic for many decades, as well as the US Air Base in Clark and in a number of other military installations in the entire archipelago, from La Union to Zamboanga. The Filipinos lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians fighting alongside the US troops against the Japanese Imperial Army. We lost many of our forces sent to Korea in the civil war between the North and the South, and we were there upon the prodding of the USA. We sent a contingent of engineers to Vietnam and allowed our Mactan and other bases as refueling stations and centers for rest and recreation of their battle-weary officers and men.

Our long history of political, economic, and social partnership with the US is being “stolen” by China. President Xi is indubitably taking the Philippines away from the US orbit of influence. Thousands of workers are now in the Philippines spying on us and sending dispatches to Beijing. This was the same strategy that Japan used in the 1940s before bombing our country and devastating the whole Philippines, ravishing our women and stealing our national dignity and honor. President Xi sent planes to Davao, built permanent structures in islands that we have always been occupying by historic title, including those within our exclusive economic zones.

I have my highest respect for President Duterte and I have defended his policies in many fora ad before all kinds of critics and detractors. But I feel very wary with China and am very suspicious about President Xi's true intentions. The US might have been too presumptuous, and at times arrogant, in dealing with us. But in totality, the American imperfections are still preferable to the hidden agenda of Beijing.

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