Philippines

US President Joe Biden meets with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, on 22 September 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Can the Philippines stay neutral in a Taiwan Strait military confrontation between the US and China?

Philippine academic Renato Cruz De Castro asserts that the Philippines will have to fall back on the strength of the Philippines-US alliance in the face of a possible US-China armed stand-off in the Taiwan Strait.
Local residents ride past pro-Taiwan independence flags in Taipei, Taiwan, on 6 August 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

The 'one China' policy of Southeast Asian countries

Academic Ngeow Chow Bing takes stock of the "one China" policy of Southeast Asian countries, noting changes in interpretations over the years and their subtle differences from China's "one China" principle and the US's "one China" policy. He warns that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has exacerbated cross-strait tensions and could further limit Taiwan's international space in Southeast Asia.
This handout photograph taken and received on 6 July 2022 from the Philippines' Presidential Photographers Division (PPD) shows Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2L) paying a courtesy call to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (2R) at Malacañang Palace in Manila. (Philippines' PPD/AFP)

The China factor and ‘Bongbong’ Marcos’s foreign policy

While it is too early for his foreign policy platform to fully emerge, the Philippines' new president will have his hands full in calibrating Manila’s relationships with Washington and Beijing. It is not a foregone conclusion that he will lean strongly in either direction. This is in the context of continuing issues such as the South China Sea, with disputes over the Whitsun Reef and Second Thomas Shoal.
Police stand guard near the parliament building in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 17 May 2022. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Families that rule: Thoughts about Asia's political landscape

The political environment in Asia has been marked with upheavals and instability. While each country has their own system of democratic elections in the modern sense, they appear to share a number of common themes that resembles the backward political practices of 19th century Europe. Academic Chen Liujun assesses the regional developments.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr (left) with Mao Zedong (centre) and Imelda Marcos, on a visit to China in September 1957. (Twitter)

Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr, the president-elect who kissed Mao Zedong

With Ferdinand Marcos Jr achieving a landslide win in the Philippine presidential election, how will the Philippines’ China policy change? In particular, given the legacy of the Marcos family’s good relations with China as well as former President Duterte’s pro-China stance, how will the incoming president handle relations with the US?
Traffic in front of a Chinese restaurant in Boracay, Aklan, the Philippines, on 23 March 2022. (Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg)

The Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippines’ post-Duterte China challenge

Even under China-friendly President Duterte, Chinese BRI projects in the Philippines still encountered strong political opposition and faced several challenges in their roll-out. Ultimately, a positive domestic response to the BRI hinges on whether Manila can negotiate mutually beneficial and fair deals that allow China to contribute to the Philippines' economic agenda.
Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and vice-presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, on the campaign trail for the 2022 presidential election, at the Philippine Arena, in Bulacan province, Philippines, 8 February 2022. (Lisa Marie David/Reuters)

2022 elections may bring change to the Philippines' China policy

Foreign policy does not usually feature prominently in the Philippine presidential elections, but it should in May this year as candidates will be expected to raise the country’s China policy in policy debates given the accommodating approach adopted by the Duterte administration and its residual effects on the country’s body politic and strategic posture. Apart from territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, China’s impact on issues such as food security and access to natural resources, migration, business regulation, and transnational crime would also come to the fore.
The BrahMos missile jointly developed by India and Russia, on display at IMDS-2007. (Wikimedia)

Arms sales: A new vector of Sino-Indian competition in the Indo-Pacific

The sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines, even when it is a product of collaboration with Russia, is the first indigenously developed weapon system India has sold in the region, and could drum up interest from other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia. With this development, India-China competition in the Indo-Pacific is set to increase as India sends a signal that it is able and willing to respond in kind if China continues to arm India’s adversaries and influence its neighbours.
Philippine Marines fold a Philippine national flag during a flag retreat at the BRP Sierra Madre, a marooned transport ship in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, 29 March 2014. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Can the next Philippine president stand up to Chinese pressure in the South China Sea?

The winner of the 2022 Philippines presidential elections will determine how the Philippines will handle its legally recognised claims in the West Philippine Sea both domestically and in the regional arena. While current President Rodrigo Duterte has gone against public sentiment several times with his relatively friendly stance towards China, his successor will have to decide how to handle Chinese maritime actions that put pressure on smaller neighbours in Southeast Asia.