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It’s all about trust



China President Xi Jinping was here a few days ago for confidence-building measures by co-signing with the government a number of development assistance packages, which US Vice President Michael Pence calls a “debt trap” — Americans are very familiar with this strategy!
While our president, Rodrigo Duterte, has been signing packages with Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Israel, no whimper on the transparency of the deals could be heard loudly. However, when it was China’s turn, the whimpers became shouts, well, because Filipinos trust China to be Chinese.

We know the Chinese when it comes to business and economy since the Chinese have been with us from Adam. We remember the proverbial “Akong,” the Fukienese guy who migrated to Manila and started collecting used bottles and old newspapers from Filipino trash bins. A few months later, he has opened a junk shop employing Filipinos as trash pickers.

Their innate culture is resilient hard work and industry empowered by their pragmatic work ethics.

Hence, they cannot escape the perception that their money-making machines are running not without questionable strategies and business practices and being oiled by bribery and illegal stuff.

We remember the late Sen. Miriam Santiago lashing out at the Chinese as the “inventors” of corruption.

On the other hand, we all know that their monosyllabic surnames dominate the Forbes Magazine list of the richest Filipinos. Yet, most are from rags-to-riches sob stories of financial success, when their grandparents migrated here to escape the wrath of the communist cultural revolution.

President Duterte may be overestimating the military intent of the mainland to wage a war against our miniature state.

From all indications, China does not seem to entertain the idea of invading our shores. The Chinese, including those homegrown, are known to avert direct confrontation. Here, for instance, the Chinese as much as possible, would shun court cases and resort instead to negotiations. They consider it “bad luck” for business.

Besides, China has no known history of invading and conquering a country. The US has more invasions for almost any flimsy justification on hand: Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Iran and Libya, to name a few.

We were under the Americans for 50 years; they took our bells and our balls, beholden to them for the longest time.

Historically, most of the military explorations of the Chinese were all about claiming ownership over territories along its borders, for instance in Tibet and India.

Probably, their claims in the West Philippine Sea are of the same nature, but far from a full-scale invasion.

Clearly, the Chinese hegemony is all about economics.

With the dearth of the belligerent stance of Maoist communism in China, the capitalist nature of the Chinese has been seen as a more functional ideology for development, as they claim possession of capitalist Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

With a staggering 1.4 billion population to feed, China cannot simply engage the US and its European allies in a hand-to-hand battle, which would reduce their own nation to hand-to-mouth existence.

Nobody wins in a war!

Their suspicious activities and alleged buildup in our territorial waters are for economic leverage, namely, in order to secure economic concessions from its neighbors for mutual growth and benefit; hence, the joint venture agreements signed with Japan, South Korea, India and Philippines.

That would impact if not wound eventually the US dollar-based trade and Western unilateralism and trade protectionism.

And guess who is in paranoia over an impending loss of control in this economic region?

Imagine a ravishing eagle against a serene giant panda.

Whether we like it or not, we have been drawn to the gaming table and are now an active player. We can take our chances in winning, big or small, still, better perhaps than just idling around or ranting.