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. […]