By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda,Jr. [BicolToday.com]
The forthcoming visit of President Benigno Aquino to Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen in mainland China is a step in the right direction if the Philippine delegation will see eye to eye with their Chinese counterparts. This comes in the heels of the military build-up on the disputed Spratly chain of islands which countries of Southeast Asia claim parts of the territory. The timing can be ominous for China projected an economic might aided by their military build-up that was seen as a clear message of their national interest.
If the visit hopes to push trades and investment for the two sides, the question is how far Chinese investors can participate in the development of our national resources, also, how far will the Chinese government allow our businesses dip in their domestic products? In this milieu, we have witnessed the ZTE-NBN Broadband deal which proved their foreign business policy is not in conformity with international norms in business conduct. We have also heard the sub-standard products from China flooding our markets from cosmetics, infant formula, toys which are harmful and toxic. What are they going to offer and what can we reciprocate without short changing our sovereign interest. Let’s not deal with our untapped mineral deposits such as copper, gold and chromate which are hard to find nowadays. The shrewdness of the Chinese traders will exploit it in the guise of partnership with the mainland as the main export area in the best offered rate formula. In the past years China started exploiting countries with vast reserves of mineral resources to fuel their technological advances laying low their own deposits as buffer when scarcity seeps the international market. Shrewdness is their name game.
What is troublesome was the pronouncement of the Chinese Ambassador in the country “ I think we have a great potential in mining” and when he said in vague language “ we’ll all try our best to make this trip very rewarding to both of our two countries and two peoples,” as trite diplomatic word which does not guarantee a fair deal. By this alone, the Chinese already put across that we are to be dictated the terms of reference in their future dealings with our Philippines. That is worrisome for President Aquino foreign policy is to contend with the hungry mouth of China wanting to gulp our natural riches.
For the past months, Malacañang became pre-occupied with the brazen acts of militarism by the Chinese and it would not be easy for the delegation to secure a front row treatment from the Chinese for a knot of its maritime fleet is headed to our territorial waters. The other exploitable areas for the Chinese are infrastructure, mining, energy, road and rail links, huge area compared to what they will offer to us. There are few available areas, all with competitors which the Chinese may allow us to develop, for we don’t have the technology to do it! Then this visit is purely appeasement and saving face for our government. If there are benefits at all, maybe it is tourism.
Whatever increase in terms of dollar investment which our side can have in a pre-agreement prior to the visit subject for signing, the fine prints of the agreement should be properly scrutinize by the economic team and the Senate should review further the impact of the agreement for it spells not only competition but a monopoly sanction by diplomatic act, leaving us more disadvantage as a nation and people. Economic interest must be surrogated to our sovereign will. BicolToday.com