Siao: Armchair pundits no match for Duterte in ‘high-stakes poker match’ with China

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Iligan City Rep. Frederick W. Siao said President Rodrigo Duterte’s non-confrontational strategy in seeking consensus on a Code of Conduct between ASEAN states and China is the right way to go in ensuring peace in the region.

“Unlike the armchair pundits who criticize without having the first hand, up close knowledge of how China and other SCS claimants, President Duterte uses his political skills, negotiation abilities, and personal rapport with the Chinese leader and other ASEAN heads of government,” he said.

Siao, a member of the House of Representatives committees on the East ASEAN Growth Area, economic affairs, and Mindanao affairs, said only Duterte and his advisers see the true picture of the situation in the South China sea.

“Only he and his close advisers really know the cards dealt in the ongoing high-stakes high seas poker match over the SCS. The critical pundits only have extrapolations and suppositions,” he said.

“In my view, President Duterte seeks the effective, pragmatic solution of cooperation and mutual gains. Given the overlapping claims that really is the appropriate approach instead of the winner takes all stance of the critics the President refers to as “hotheads” who prefer animosity and discord over consensus,” he added.