By: Elena Grace Flores
Beijing’s exaggerated claim that it has more or less 60 supporting countries on the South China Sea Dispute with Philippines is part of “a public relations campaign to try to deflect the reputational cost it will suffer after the ruling tomorrow, July 12.
Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said that of the countries reportedly supporting China, only 8 “have actually announced it in public.” They think that projecting more explicit support than it actually does would mean that the expected judgement in favor of the Philippines will be prsumed as unfair international ruling since many countries agreed with them.
China’s supporters who announced their stand publicly are mostly from Africa or at least 6 of them, where China pledged billions of dollars in aid. As of July 9, these are:
They all expressed their belief on the tribunal’s illegitimacy in handling Manila’s case against Beijing – that somewhat repeats the familiar reasoning of China.