Presented by Hon. Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary of the Department of National Defense, during the "Philippines-Australia Dialogue: Security Dimensions of Comprehensive Partnership" held on June 25-26, 2018 at Astoria Plaza Pasig City.

Presented by Johny Chotrani, Chairman of the ASEAN-India Business Council, during the ASEAN-India Forum held on November 21, 2017 at the Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, Quezon City.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Francisco Magno taken during the PPSA Distinguished Leadership Lecture, 1 March 2017

I was fortunate to have done my M.A. and Ph.D. studies in Washington D.C. and my doctoral dissertation research in the United Nations and in Southeast Asia. It was a privilege for me to have witnessed upclose the dynamics of domestic and international politics in my host countries during the escalation of the Vietnam War and the height of the anti-war movement in the 1960s, triggered by the assassination of the leading anti-war advocates, Rev. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy.

My exposure to the realities of international politics deepened my appreciation of ideologies and alternative political and social systems. It strengthened my resolve to devote my career in the service of peace promotion.

Q & A with Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, former journalist, lecturer, and ambassador-designate

to the People’s Republic of China.

Photo taken during In Search for a China Strategy, a symposium organized by Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation Inc. and UP Asian Center last August 17-18, 2016.

[NOTE: The answers to this Q & A draw in large part from a published article by the interviewee, titled “China’s Foreign Policy and the Territorial and Maritime Disputes Between the Philippines and China”, which appeared in A Quest For Regional Solutions: Challenges And Prospects For Conflicts In The South China Sea. Benedikt Seemann and Marie Antoinette De Jesus, Eds. Makati City: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 2016, pages 36-49.]  

IN YOUR VIEW, WHAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE PROBLEMS BETWEEN CHINA AND THE PHILIPPINES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA?

The root cause of the problems between the Philippines and China has to do with the territorial and maritime disputes between the two countries. There are several dimensions to these disputes: the first is the issue of territorial sovereignty and the competing claims between the two countries over Scarborough Shoal and some maritime features in the Spratlys.

The second is the issue of maritime rights and jurisdiction:  the status of these contested islets, rocks and shoals, and their respective maritime entitlements, if any, and the competition for economic resources, such as fisheries, oil and natural gas, in the surrounding waters.