President Duterte’s Backtracking Prompts Hope for Compromise

Security analysts have questioned whether U.S.-Philippine defense cooperation can survive six years of a Philippine president seemingly driven by anti-Western ideology. Those fears should be somewhat allayed, as Duterte has walked back some of his earlier pronouncements and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has declared that the Philippine-U.S. security alliance will not be abrogated and that the EDCA will stay in place.

Duterte’s Uncertain China Gamble

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 […]

Podcast: Justice Antonio Carpio on the South China Sea and Limits of Presidential Power in the Philippines

Justice Antonio Carpio of the Supreme Court of the Philippines sits down with AMTI director Gregory Poling to discuss constitutional requirements for any joint fisheries or oil and gas deal in the South China Sea,  as well as the limits of President Rodrigo Duterte’s power to change treaty commitments.  

Duterte’s Colorful Diplomatic Debut

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. […]

Can Ramos Break the Ice in Philippines-China Relations?

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 Philippines and Japan Sign New Defense Agreement

Philippine defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Japanese ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa on February 29 signed a new defense agreement to allow the transfer of defense equipment and technology from Japan to the Philippines. It also provides for the Philippines and Japan to conduct joint research and development, and even joint production, of defense […]

A Tumultuous 2016 in the South China Sea

This promises to be a landmark year for the claimant countries and other interested parties in the South China Sea disputes. Developments that have been underway for several years, especially China’s island-building campaign in the Spratlys and Manila’s arbitration case against Beijing, will come to fruition. These and other developments will draw outside players, including […]

EDCA Refocus: Eyes on the AFP’s Modernization Program

On January 12, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States is an executive agreement that does not require Senate approval. With the ruling in hand, the Philippines and the United States governments can begin in earnest to implement the 2014 deal, which mainly […]