Did DFA bungle China job?

Posted at 09/21/12 12:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) may have bungled its job in handling relations with China over Scarborough Shoal, an analyst said Thursday.

This, amid revelations that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV engaged in back-channeling talks with Chinese government officials to defuse tensions over the shoal several months ago.

"We have poor inteligence gathering and the DFA and academic experts didn't do good analysis, so the President was boxed into a corner and relied on the military option," UP Professor Propsero de Vera said.

"Given the circumstance and imbalance of power between China and the Philippines, we need to explore all options and this is where the Trillanes role comes in," he added.

De Vera defended Aquino's resort to back-channelling.

"This is a practice that Presidents of other countries take when dealing with difficult issues that require back-chanelling," he said.

"There may be political considerations that require innovative steps like this. Ultimately, foreign relations is the call of the President and his leadership will rise or fall based on his decisions," he added.

De Vera said diplomatic and political channels can work, as long as the President is on top of the situation. "We need to be creative and use multiple approaches in dealing with China."