Under Duterte’s watch, ASEAN has lost a crucial opportunity to hold China to account. More worryingly, it has undermined the regional body’s centrality in addressing one of the most vexing and potentially explosive flashpoints in the 21st century.
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.
As the 2017 chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Duterte has soft-pedaled on the South China Sea disputes in an effort to please China. The upshot is the regional body’s fast slide into irrelevance in shaping the regional security architecture.
The latest iteration of the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore (June 2-4), which brought together 23 defense ministers and hundreds of defense experts from all over the world, was dominated by three major strategic concerns.
Observers often attribute contradictory statements from the Duterte administration to the natural byproduct of having such a notoriously mercurial character as commander-in-chief. What this conventional strand of analysis misses is the fact that Duterte and his generals are in a constant low-intensity struggle over shaping the Philippines’ policies on sensitive territorial and strategic issues.
Country-level pragmatic calculations may contribute to more peaceful relations among claimant states, but risk driving ASEAN into total irrelevance as China shapes the regional agenda on its own terms.
A new chapter has begun in the long-stale Philippines-Russia relationship.
The surprising election of Donald Trump has raised hopes for a less fraught relationship between Washington and Manila in the near future.
Breaking with tradition, the Philippines’ controversial leader Rodrigo Duterte chose China for the first major state visit of his presidency. Traditionally, Filipino leaders have visited “all-weather” friends such as Washington or Tokyo before Beijing. This time, however, the Filipino president decided to postpone a scheduled visit to Japan in favor of China, while signaling strategic […]
The Philippines’ newly minted president couldn’t have asked for a more high-profile diplomatic debut when he attended this week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, which saw the participation of the leaders from across the Asia Pacific, including the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and India, along with the secretary-general of the United Nations. […]
Consistent with his campaign promise, the Philippines’ new president Rodrigo Duterte has stepped up efforts to mend ties with China, despite the latter’s flagrant rejection of the Philippines’ recent law-fare victory at The Hague. Duterte has deputized no less than former president Fidel Ramos, who also dealt with Chinese maritime assertiveness in the mid-1990s, to […]
The Duterte administration faces important decisions after the ruling.
For Duterte, development rather than deterrence is the way forward
Anti-China sentiment is at historic highs among the Filipino public, leaving little room for major foreign policy recalibration
China may be gaining the strategic upper-hand in the ongoing scramble in the South China Sea thanks to its newly-built artificial islands, but it is facing increasing backlash in the region. Neighboring states as well as external powers have stepped up their diplomatic pressure on Beijing, while coordinating their efforts at safeguarding freedom of […]
Ahead of this month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and ASEAN summits, regional maritime tensions have taken a dangerous turn, potentially setting off a new round of confrontation between relevant powers. A month after the meeting of Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in Washington, during which the two leaders signed off on new confidence-building measures […]
President Xi Jinping’s ongoing nine-day trip to the United States is his first state visit to the country. He is being greeted with a 21-gun salute and attendant formalities and honors, but he is no stranger to his hosts. In 2013, he held a special informal summit with President Barack Obama at Sunnylands estate in […]
More than any country in the region, the Philippines has sought to protect its territorial integrity through “lawfare” (legal warfare), taking China to the court over maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Perturbed by China’s growing assertiveness across disputed waters, evident in its expanded para-military patrols, massive reclamation activities, and regular military drills in […]
The Philippines’ lawfare (legal warfare) against China has reached a critical juncture. More than two years after initiating compulsory arbitration against China, the Southeast Asian country faces the crucial task of proving that the Arbitral Tribunal, formed under the aegis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), has the mandate […]
As far as China’s designs in the South China Sea are concerned, there is little sign of compromise on the horizon. Not only has China openly declared its commitment to “active defense” of its interests in adjacent waters, and also dangled the option of imposing an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the area, but […]
China is far from a monolithic power. Its rapid ascent has transformed it into both a centripetal force of integration as well as a centrifugal force of fragmentation. Earlier this year, China managed to pull off a major strategic coup against the United States (U.S.) by astutely convincing almost all relevant economies in Asia and […]
China’s expansive and accelerated construction activities in the South China Sea have elicited growing criticism from across the region and beyond. While some countries, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, are primarily worried over the impact of China’s reclamation activities on their maritime claims in the area, other countries, from Singapore to Japan and the United […]
China’s accelerated construction activities in the South China Sea have understandably alarmed countries across the region and beyond. In particular, Southeast Asian claimant states such as Vietnam and the Philippines are deeply worried about the prospects of an irreversible Chinese consolidation of its sweeping maritime claims, more expansive Chinese paramilitary patrols in the area, and, […]
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is generally considered among the weakest in the region. But as China gradually chips away at the Philippines’ hold on and claims to a whole host of land features as well as fisheries and hydrocarbon resources within its 200-nautical-miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), there has been a much […]
When it comes to the South China Sea, the year 2014 was a rollercoaster. With Manila’s arbitration efforts against Beijing gaining momentum, 2015 will present new challenges not only to Philippine-China bilateral relations, but also to the very credibility of international arbitration bodies under the aegis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of […]