Davao City is a major city on the southern island of the Philippines; indeed, it’s on the far side of the Philippines away from the South China Sea. The mayor of that city, Rodrigo Duterte who’s running for President of the Republic of the Philippines, thinks it’s appropriate to
talk with Beijing and is open to discussing joint exploration of resources in the South China Sea.
It doesn’t matter to him that this plays directly into the PRC’s goal of occupying the Sea, both by military force and by one-on-one “discussions” with the nations rimming the Sea—each one of which is smaller than a province in the PRC, and each one of whose navy is no match for the Chinese navy—even the flotillas currently occupying the Spratly and Paracel Island groups.
Duterte showed his true colors in a campaign speech ahead of this week’s election, though:
[He] pledged to ride a jet-ski to plant a Philippine flag on a disputed atoll now controlled by Beijing.
A publicity stunt for stroking his ego and pumping his election chances. Never mind the damage done to the Philippines’ interests in the South China Sea.
Divide and conquer has many paths.