Second of 3 parts
RATHER than making the Philippines a “province of China” as the ignorant Yellows keep on ranting in their delirium, President Duterte’s rapprochement with the Asian superpower allowed the country to extract benefits from both the Chinese and the US. This is according to a study by entitled “An Analysis of the Philippines’ Policy Shift on the South China Sea Disputes.” Manantan is a research fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan.
Manantan summarized his study: “The Philippines under Duterte is using China as leverage in its alliance with the United States. By exploiting the ‘China card’ and downplaying the arbitration case, the Philippines has extracted concessions from Beijing and Washington. In capitalizing on the Sino-American rivalry, Manila has reaffirmed its strategic value within the US-Philippines alliance while benefiting more visibly from Chinese foreign aid and investment pledges.”
He explained: “The looming competition between the United States and China in the region is a springboard for the Philippines to further push its burden-sharing approach. As the great powers compete for dominance in the region, the Philippines is exploiting the conducive geopolitical environment to pursue its inherent interests. Therefore, the Philippines, under the Duterte government, gained an upper advantage which led to extracting benefits from two competing powers.”
The study continued: “Recognizing that the institutional mechanisms that would otherwise enforce the arbitral ruling are lacking, and that the Philippines’ weak defense capabilities would do little to deter China from pressing its sovereign claims in the South China Sea, the Duterte government has instead resorted to embracing China’s preference for bilateral talks. This has afforded the Philippines the chance to diversify its policy options by normalizing relations with China, and consequently benefiting from bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries.”
Manantan noted that China had immediately and even massively responded positively to Duterte’s extension of the Philippines’ hand in friendship: “Setting aside the South China Sea issue, Duterte’s four-day visit to Beijing from Oct. 18 to 21, 2016, generated deeper economic and diplomatic engagement with China. Duterte attained $24 billion worth of funding and investment pledges, and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez subsequently listed the funding deals: $9 billion for soft loans, including a $3 billion credit line with the Bank of China, and economic investments worth $15 billion. The $9 billion in soft loans were earmarked for development programs, and a $15 million package was designated for drug rehabilitation programs.” (more…)