Welcome to the Bigs

…and to the way the People’s Republic of China treats its foes, Mr President,

Recall that the PRC was resoundingly crushed in a case brought by the Philippines concerning the PRC’s violations of Philippine waters in the South China Sea, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague having ruled, sharply, in favor of the Philippines on all but the most trivial of the charges.

Recall, also, that newly elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had said—repeatedly—that he wanted bilateral talks with the PRC regarding the South China Sea and the items in dispute.

At a cabinet meeting in progress when word of the ruling arrived, one of Duterte’s Ministers said he’d had dinner the night before with the PRC’s ambassador, and that ambassador—before the ruling had been announced—had provided a list of things the PRC required Duterte to say and not say in any press release he might release about the then-forthcoming ruling.  Earlier that same day of the dinner, too, Duterte had met with that same ambassador to assure him that no embarrassing remarks would be forthcoming.  Duterte’s response to that list?

 Didn’t he trust what I told him?

Welcome, indeed, to the contempt with which the Center of Heaven views its foes.

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