Duterte’s China policy shift: Strategy or Serendipity?

Close to marking its first year in office, the Duterte administration has turned around the country’s relations with China in a number of ways. Departing from the previous government’s strong opposition to China’s expansive claims and assertive actions in the South China Sea, Duterte has downplayed the territorial and maritime disputes in favor of pursuing close economic and political ties with China. Continue reading “Duterte’s China policy shift: Strategy or Serendipity?”

Philippines-China Relations, 2001–2008: Dovetailing National Interests
by Charles Joseph De Guzman / Download the full paper here

This study shows that the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) between China and the Philippines is an attempt of both countries to advance their respective national interests. Arguing that the foreign policies of China and the Philippines dovetailed during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the study situates the JMSU as (1) part of China’s overall foreign policy in Southeast Asia and (2) as an attempt to maintain good relations with the Philippines and help resolve tensions related to the South ChinaSea disputes between the Philippines and China. The paper also shows that (3) the JMSU, along with Chinese ODA, dovetailed with the Philippine government’s plan to promote economic development and facilitate energy security. Citing significant documents compiled by government agencies, newspaper and online articles, government officials’ speeches, and academic journals, the study shows how the Chinese official development assistance (ODA) coincided and ran parallel to the signing of the Joint Maritime Seismic Undertaking. In conclusion, the study suggests a direct, causal link, not just conjunction, among Chinese ODA, the advancement of Beijing’s security interests, and the signing of the JMSU.

Emerging Consistencies in Philippine Foreign Policy Amidst Continuing U.S.-China Frictions

by Lucio Pitlo III / Apr 27 , 2017 / Originally Posted at ChinaUSFocus

Although critics often point to the apparent discrepancies and unpredictability in Philippine foreign policy as expressed by its chief architect, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, several emerging consistencies can be gathered. In the same vein as other countries that opted not to spell out the specifics of their foreign policy strategy, especially on critical and sensitive issues, in order to have ample room for maneuver and negotiation, these incipient consistencies have yet to be formally articulated in a coherent form, more so applied in reference to a certain foreign policy priority. Although not definitive, an appreciation of some of these nascent consistencies can give one a better outlook of the continuously evolving Philippine diplomacy. Furthermore, beyond his infamous rhetoric which surely played a lot in getting him Times’ 2017 Most Influential Person Award, Duterte’s actions, by and large, resonate as regional responses to the brewing US-China tussle. Continue reading “Emerging Consistencies in Philippine Foreign Policy Amidst Continuing U.S.-China Frictions”

A Balanced Philippine Foreign Policy: Managing Relations with Major Powers

by Aaron Jed Rabena / Originally Posted at IAPS Dialogue

Hailed as one of Forbes Magazine’s 2016 most powerful people, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines continues to draw international attention by virtue of his unorthodox domestic policies and foreign policy reconfiguration. Duterte’s war on drugs, which has resulted in the death of thousands, has been denounced by the Philippine political opposition as well as Western states and institutions for alleged human rights abuses and rule of law violations. Internationally, Duterte has emphasized a preference for an independent foreign policy. This coincided with the deterioration in Philippine-U.S. relations amid calls by the Obama administration to stop drug-related extra-judicial killings. Continue reading “A Balanced Philippine Foreign Policy: Managing Relations with Major Powers”

Mutual Gains, Not Shared Values: The New Normal in International Relations?

by Lucio Pitlo III, March 21, 2017/ Originally Posted at AllChinaReview

Much talk about the evolving global political and economic landscape largely ignores the major underlying factor driving this transformational shift, namely the growing emphasis on mutual gains rather than shared values as a fundamental basis for state relations. Shared values is losing its appeal and several reasons account for it. Continue reading “Mutual Gains, Not Shared Values: The New Normal in International Relations?”

Philippines-China Relations: A Deepening Partnership

by Aaron Jed Rabena / March 14, 2017 / Originally posted at Sina.com

Early in his term as Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte already made clear his penchant for an independent foreign policy. Parenthetically, part of this foreign policy thrust is the desire to have a soft landing in managing differences with China and the strategic recognition of China’s growing geoeconomic profile. This was manifest when Duterte quickly appointed a special envoy to China and made Beijing his first official state visit destination in October of last year. In his visit, Duterte announced that the 「spring time」 has come about in Sino-Philippine relations. Continue reading “Philippines-China Relations: A Deepening Partnership”

Philippines’ warming ties with China and Russia: Opportunity, not concern

by Lucio Pitlo, III, 30 January 2017/ Originally Posted at APPFI

Shared values and resolve to defend territorial integrity and maritime rights had long undergirded Philippine foreign policy which may help explain longstanding ties with traditional allies US and Japan. Hence, the country’s warming relations with China and Russia was considered astonishing, if not a game changer. The country does not share affinity in political ideals with these two and, in the case of China, it even has unresolved disputes over the West Philippine Sea (WPS). One may think that the country is pivoting away from its traditional allies into the fold of incompatible partners for uncertain ends or that one of Asia’s pioneer liberal democracies is anxiously drifting away from its identity. However, despite the rhetoric, a careful examination will reveal that the new Philippine government’s move is driven more by conflict avoidance and economic considerations rather than attempts to redefine the country’s politics and international alignment though President Duterte supports federalism and a more independent foreign policy. Potential change in US government disposition towards Russia under the Trump Presidency may have also played a part. Continue reading “Philippines’ warming ties with China and Russia: Opportunity, not concern”

Sino-US relations and Trump’s Asia policy

By Aaron Jed Rabena/ January 31, 2017 / Originally Posted at Asia Times

Sporadic tensions and volatility are not new in Sino-American relations. Both major powers diverge on a wide range of geopolitical and strategic issues such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system deployment in South Korea and the management of the North Korean nuclear issue. Continue reading “Sino-US relations and Trump’s Asia policy”