The ascent of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has come as a major political shock to Vietnam and its position in the South China Sea disputes.
Aware that their navy and air force are underequipped, Malaysia’s military planners have developed several plans to upgrade old platforms and acquire new ones in recent years. However, military spending has never been prioritized in the government budget, and most plans for force modernization have been repeatedly delayed or cancelled.
Since the South China Sea reemerged around 2008 as a hotspot of simmering conflict, conventional wisdom has held that tension in the area is driving an arms race among its littoral countries. A closer look at the facts and trends suggests otherwise.
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?