Philippine Security Relations with the United States and Japan Under Duterte: Bending, not Breaking 

by Lucio Blanco Pitlo III/ October 10, 2017/ Originally posted at AMTI

With improved Sino-Philippine relations post-arbitration, an opening with Russia, and seemingly positive momentum on ASEAN-China Code of Conduct negotiations, one could envision a shadow looming over the Philippines’ longstanding defense cooperation with the United States and recently burgeoning cooperation with Japan. But the reality is more nuanced. With threats to sever or downgrade security relations with the United States alongside a courting of non-traditional security partners China and Russia, how will the Philippines’ security relations with established partners proceed under President Rodrigo Duterte? Continue reading “Philippine Security Relations with the United States and Japan Under Duterte: Bending, not Breaking “

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Why China’s 19th National Party Congress matters to the Philippines

by Aaron Jed Rabena / October 12, 2017/ Originally Posted at BusinessWorld

ON Oct. 18, the largest ruling political party in the world – the Communist Party of China – will hold its quinquennial National Party Congress in Beijing. Unlike US presidential elections and American politics, not much is heard in the country about the most important political activity in the world’s second richest economy. The Philippines cannot be faulted for this as the country shares stronger political affinity with the United States and has long been exposed to American soft power such as Hollywood, CNN, and Harvard. Continue reading “Why China’s 19th National Party Congress matters to the Philippines”

Duterte’s ASEAN Policy

by Aaron Jed Rabena / 13 Sept 2017 / Originally Posted at IPP Review

The 45th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers’ summit hosted by Cambodia in 2012 was said to be the critical turning point for Southeast Asia’s disagreement on the South China Sea (SCS) as for the first time since its inception in the 1960s, ASEAN member-states were not able to come up with a Joint Communiqué at the end of a Summit. Since then, and due to continued strategic posturing by the relevant parties in the SCS, the divisive issue has become a major concern at every ASEAN-led regional dialogue mechanism where political and security matters may be discussed. Continue reading “Duterte’s ASEAN Policy”

Duterte’s shift toward China threatens ASEAN centrality, forces other claimants to take stand

by Florence Principe / 13 September 2017 / Originally Posted at APPFI

The feeble stance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the South China Sea in the past has been made even weaker by the sudden shift of Philippine foreign policy under the Duterte administration. As the chairman for this year’s summit, the Philippines could have used this opportunity to rally the Southeast Asian states to support and uphold the arbitration rulingthat it won in July 2016, affirming the rights of littoral states under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Instead, President Duterte decided not to talk to China about the ruling for now – while he resets diplomatic ties and secures economic aid from China. Continue reading “Duterte’s shift toward China threatens ASEAN centrality, forces other claimants to take stand”

No Sea-Change as ASEAN Turns 50

by Lucio Pitlo III / Aug 22, 2017

Originally Posted at China-US Focus

ASEAN meetings almost always generate expectations of raising the South China Sea (SCS) disputes to the point where the success of the meeting boils down to how tough the adopted language is in the final official statements. Considering the breadth and depth of issues covered by ASEAN in its annual meetings, such reduction is unfortunate and unfair. Continue reading “No Sea-Change as ASEAN Turns 50”

China’s Diplomatic Strategy and Expanding Philippines-China Political Cooperation

by Jed Aaron Rabena / July 12, 2017 / Originally Posted at CPIanalysis

In On War (1832), Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian general and military theorist, wrote that, “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.” Conversely, military diplomacy may be said to be political cooperation by different means or that military cooperation is an extension of political consensus. During World War I, the United States, although maintaining the “principle of armed neutrality,” supplied arms to the British against the Germans, which was seen by many as a highly symbolic political act. One may thus argue that military diplomacy is not only about signaling benign and pacifist intentions, but also has to do with sending political messages to third-party states. In fact, defense and military cooperation may be the most credible barometer of the current state of political relations because security ties reflect the existing level of strategic trust and confidence between two nation-states. Continue reading “China’s Diplomatic Strategy and Expanding Philippines-China Political Cooperation”

Dutertismo and the West Philippine Sea: Year One

by Jay Batongbacal/ July 6, 2017 / Rappler

Despite its apparent benefits, Duterte’s policy has not generated any assurance that China will not impose itself and its pre-emptive claim over waters and resources thatlegally pertain to the Philippines
Continue reading “Dutertismo and the West Philippine Sea: Year One”

Deconstructing Duterte’s West Philippine Sea policy

by Lucio Pitlo III , June 27, 2017 / Originally posted at APPFI

President Duterte had been criticized for appearing soft in defending Philippine national interests in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), especially in the face of his decision to expand cooperation with a fellow disputant and potential external security threat. Such criticism largely rests on two key assumptions: 1) that asserting the country’s landmark victory in the 2016 arbitration decision is the best way to defend the country’s WPS interests and canvassing regional and international support is the best way to pressure China into compliance and; 2) maintaining robust or even deepening security relations with the US is the best deterrence against Chinese expansionism in the tightly contested strategic and resource-rich sea. Continue reading “Deconstructing Duterte’s West Philippine Sea policy”