When presidents visit their troops, they're there as Commander in Chief. Unless, of course, a particular president is not the commander in chief in accordance with his or her country's laws.
While other claimant countries are minimizing the political effect of their military presence in the Spratleys by sending only a small number of troops commanded by low ranking officers and NCOs, Tae-1 decides to send what amounts to be their Top Soldier to the Spratleys, and this soldier happens to also wear the hat of the presidency.
In diplomatic body language, that is aggression, and worse, sets a precedence for other ASEAN claimants. I hope I'm wrong, but the Spratleys will be visited by bigwigs from another claimant countries in the very near futre. This, in turn, is deemed an escalation. Things will most probably go downhill from there. Not good, so I really hope I'm wrong.
You have to familiarize yourself with the language (and silences) and gestures (and absence of gestures) of international diplomacy in order to scratch the surface of this holy mess.
Posted on Feb 4, 2008, 3:32 PM from IP address 188.8.131.52