Territorial Disputes and the Need for Effective Diplomacy: Op-Ed by Hermenegildo C. Cruz (F79)


When the Panatag Shoal became the subject of a territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, the Philippine government decided to send to China Sonia Brady, a retired ambassador, on the grounds that she had previously served there and had established valuable contacts. It was a risky choice because of her age, and it failed. Moreover, it may have been based on a faulty assumption. In her previous assignments in China, Ambassador Brady may not have established any contacts at all with the officials who decide foreign policy.

A government run by a Communist Party has a dual structure. On one hand is the government bureaucracy divided into cabinet ministries, while on the other is the Party apparat.

In China, and also in the defunct Soviet Union, each cabinet ministry has a counterpart body in the Communist Party’s Central Committee, which oversees the ministry. Thus, in the bureaucracy there is a ministry each for foreign affairs, agriculture, trade, education, etc., and in the Central Committee there is a counterpart committee for foreign affairs, agriculture, trade, education, etc.

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