I refer to the AFP report concerning Manila’s act of summoning the Cambodian envoy. As reported by the said newspaper:
“The move appeared to further deepen divisions within the 10-nation Asean grouping, more than two weeks after a ministerial meeting hosted by Cambodia ended in disarray over the sea dispute.”
Raul Hernandez, the spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs said that the Cambodian ambassador, Hos Sereythonh was personally asked to categorically explain his comments. However, he failed to turn up and claimed that he was sick.
Hernandez said in a statement that:
“We will continue to summon him until he is able to come. We want him to explain what he meant when he stated that the ‘inflexible and non-negotiable position of two countries of Asean is dirty politics’.”
The Cambodian envoy is referring to the Philippines and Vietnam respectively concerning the said two countries’ on-going maritime dispute with China.
As reported by Michaela Del Callar of GMA News Network, “DFA demands explanation from Cambodian envoy for caustic remarks”, July 31:
“The rift started two weeks ago when the ASEAN failed to issue its traditional joint statement as Cambodia, a known Chinese ally, blocked moves to mention the Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal incident between the Philippines and China in the proposed communiqué.
“It was an unprecedented moment of disunity in the bloc’s 45-year history.
“Vietnam also wanted to include in the document recent incidents of China’s incursions in its waters.
“After the Phnom Penh meetings, Foreign Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio issued a public statement explaining that the ASEAN failed to come up with a communiqué due to Cambodia’s firm position not to reflect the recent developments in the South China Sea despite the view of the majority of the bloc’s members that these developments impinge on the overall security of the region.
“In response, the Cambodian ambassador sent a letter to the Philippine Star accusing the Philippines and also Vietnam of “sabotaging” the statement.
“The Cambodian envoy’s biting criticism of the Philippines and Vietnam are the latest twist in the brewing animosity between this year’s host and Chinese ally Cambodia on the one side and Manila and Hanoi on the other over the territorial disputes that had been a divisive issue within the regional grouping.”
For all legal intent and purposes, I view that the action undertaken by the Cambodian envoy with the apparent concurrence of his government, is not only undiplomatic, but also selfish and traitorous.
It is undiplomatic by virtue of the fact that said envoy did not give the full details and complete information concerning the unfortunate event of Asean failing to issue a joint communiqué for the first time in 45 years.
It is selfish in my view because Cambodia is only concern with its interest to the detriment of the collective interest of the whole region.
It is in this grave sense that Cambodia’s position through the words of its Philippine ambassador is traitorous on account of betraying the general welfare of the Asean just to satisfy and please China, which is not even a member of the said bloc. This is a shame!
What are the evidence of my charge and the proof of my accusation?
I am specifically referring to the minutes of the ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh. As already noted, it is not the Philippines or Vietnam’s fault why Asean failed to issue the said communiqué. It is due to “Cambodia’s firm position not to reflect the recent developments in the South China Sea despite the view of the majority of the bloc’s members that these developments impinge on the overall security of the region.”
Hernandez charged Cambodia, a close ally and number one trading partner of China, of rejecting repeatedly “at least five final drafts of the joint statement that would have addressed the maritime row.”
The truth, no matter how sad it is; is crystal clear: Asean failed to issue the said communiqué because of China’s bullying and flexing of its muscles and Cambodia’s subservience and connivance with the said bully at the expense of other Asean member states.
Cambodia instead of coming out to support the position of the Philippines, Vietnam and other member states of the Asean, rather threw its lot to China, which is a non-member.
Worst, after they created the problem that leads to the apparent division and crack in the grouping, they pointed their finger and blame the Philippines and Vietnam.
This is a shame, truly a disgusting and rude behavior not only of the said ambassador but by Cambodia itself.
The Question of “Dirty Politics”
Cambodia accused the Philippines and Vietnam of ‘inflexible and non-negotiable position’ which it construed as “dirty politics”.
Further, Cambodia also accused the said two countries for “sabotaging” the said statement and lastly, Phnom Penh maintained that it will not allow the ministerial meeting to be a “hostage” by the prevailing maritime dispute involving the member states and China.
I do not know whether Cambodia still remembers or not, that during its conflict with neighbouring Thailand about their dispute concerning the Preah Vihear Temple, Manila never accused them or Thailand of “dirty politics”. Every time, Cambodia and Thailand will engaged in a military skirmish, Manila is always the first one who calls for sobriety and moderation between the two protagonists and disputants.
Through the years, Manila is consistent in its view that the proper and the most reasonable method of resolving the said dispute (said issue was finally resolved by the International Court of Justice last month) is by placing the said issue before an international court. In the interim, Manila helped both Cambodia and Thailand in the de-escalation of violence and maintaining peace in the said volatile border.
In August of 1997, following the bloody coup, in June of that year, launched by Hun Sen against Norodom Ranariddh and his supporters, the latter went to Manila and he was accepted and welcome there, not as a defeated political entity or a refugee or a loser; but as a statesman and he was afforded with due respect and full courtesy.
Needless to say, Manila also helped Cambodia during those critical times for the normalisation of the country and assisted them to have a political formula to settle the dispute between Hun Sen and Norodom Ranariddh.
I do not know whether that ambassador or the whole of Cambodia still remembers all of these acts and services that we Filipinos gave and extended to them.
After all of those friendship, assistance and help that we had given to Cambodia, now this country is accusing us of engaging in “dirty politics”. Is it “dirty politics” to fight for one’s territory and property? I say that Cambodia is the one engaged in “dirty politics”.
That is by flirting and conniving with China as against the interest of other member nations of the Asean. And this is “dirty politics” of the worst kind. Why? Not only is Cambodia selfish but also a traitor to the regional bloc. Phnom Penh is selfish by virtue of the fact that it is only concern with its own naked financial interest and traitor for turning its back to Asean.
I agree with the action took by the Department of Foreign Affairs in summoning the Cambodian ambassador in order for that individual to answer for his statement. If after the said meeting and the DFA is not satisfied with his explanation, said envoy must be declared a persona non grata. Further, Manila must recall the ambassador in Phnom Penh back home. If it is necessary, the Philippines should terminate all relations with Cambodia. We must register a clear point to China as the principal of this regional division and dispute and so as Cambodia as its accessory, dog and puppet.
The message must be hammered loud and clear!
To Cambodia, may I remind you that the Philippines with Indonesia and Malaysia are the original founders of the Maphilindo which is the embryo of the present Asean. We just welcome you into the said organisation just recently; henceforth do not act as if you are somebody.
We, Filipinos have a distinctive culture known as “utang na loob”. It means; debt of honour or gratitude. Shame on you being an ingrate and no sense of honour! The Heavens will gravely curse you and History will heavily condemn you!
Lastly, to China, do not act as if you own the world. No one and nothing is indispensable in this world! Heed the lessons of world history. Your gigantic empire will one day crumble too, just like the Roman, the Hohenzollern, the Ottoman, the Romanov empires, etc. Your Great Wall will one day fall just like the Berlin wall. Why? Your people will one day rise up again, just like in 1911 and 1989 to try to overthrow you!
Mark my words!Written by:
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
- China reveals its hand on ASEAN in Phnom Penh (eastasiaforum.org)
- ASEAN Summit Fallout Continues On (thediplomat.com)
- China warns ASEAN not to talk about South China Sea disputes (chinadailymail.com)