Duterte’s China pivot could change
Xi Jinping talks to Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine President in Manila (Philippines), Nov. 20, 2018.
Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
Since President Rodrigo Duterte’s election in 2016, the Philippines has shown a willingness to cooperate with China.
Filipinos will head to the polls May 9th to elect their representatives. a new leader, The new leader will be closely watched by observers to determine what it means for Philippines’ growing relations with Beijing.
Foreign policy is typically not a hot button issue in Philippines elections, but there are good reasons why it should be this time, said Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby, associate professor of international studies at De La Salle University in the Philippine capital city of Manila.
She stated that there are many compelling reasons for 2022 candidates to articulate a China strategy in a report by the Singapore-based thinktank, ISEASYUSof Ishak Institute.
Duterte was elected president of the Philippines in 2016. He declared his intentions to change foreign policy in 2016 and it marked a major shift. country’s “separation” from the U.S. — a military ally. He instead sought closer ties to China.
However, he is not a success in China’s pivot. have not materialized.
Meanwhile, tensions in the South China Sea — where the two countries have overlapping territorial claims — have persisted with China’s continued incursionsIn areas of the ocean that have been internationally recognised as being part of the Philippines
Anti-China rhetoric within Durterte’s own government While the voice of opinion has grown more louder, polls have shown that there is a growing consensus on this. Philippine public remains skeptical of Beijing. According to analysts, such sentiment might cause the next president not to support Duterte’s China-pivot.
CNBC analyzed the positions of the most prominent Philippine presidential candidates on China based on what they said on the campaign trail.
The top contenders right now include: Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — who is the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos — and Leni Robredo, the sitting vice president and de facto opposition leader. Francisco Domagoso (current mayor of Manila) is another prominent contender.
One of the most prominent Philippine presidential candidates is Marcos is considered the most China-friendly candidate.According to opinion polls, he is currently the top-ranked candidate for the presidency: A survey conducted by Pulse Asia revealed that 66% of the respondents preferred Marcos.
The 2016 decision on the South China Sea issue is a contentious point in China-Philippines relations. China’s claims to the sea were dismissed by an international tribunal at the Hague and specific parts of each country were ruled out belonged to the Philippines alone.
China rejected the ruling. Duterte, who was seeking closer relations with Beijing, was condemned for failing to do more to require Beijing to accept the outcome of the arbitration.
Marcos said in January that he is open to doing media interviews. set aside the 2016 rulingTo engage with China
In a debate televised last month, the ex-senator and congressman seemed to be able to moderate his position. According to him, he would like the Philippines have a military presence on the South China Sea. “to show China that we are defending what we consider our territorial waters,” reported Reuters.
Marcos indicated that he will not prioritise a military settlement to China’s disputes and would like to keep the “correct approach” to engaging China. However, Reuters reported that he has to tread a fine line between China and America.
Leni Robertredo, the vice president of opposition, is more firm in advocating for a harder stance towards China.
In the Philippines, there is no separate election for vice president or president. Robredo is a strong critic of Duterte’s drug war. resigned from the Duterte cabinetIn 2016.
With 15% of those surveyed choosing her for their favorite presidential candidate, she was seen as an anti-Duterte contender.
Robredo claimed that she will pursue an attorney. “inclusive and independent” foreign policyThis doesn’t help any country.
She emphasized that the South China Sea dispute should be recognized before China and the Philippines can continue to investigate any issues. joint oil and gas exploration projectsIn the sea that is rich in resources.
According to reports, she also said that she supports stronger relations with the U.S. as well as other countries such the Philippines’ Southeast Asian neighbours, Australia, and the European Union.
Francisco Domagoso (a former actor who is now the mayor of Manila, Philippines) currently ranks third in Pulse Asia’s poll.
Analysts view Domagoso as a centrist candidate who sought to find a middle ground in issues such as foreign policy.
Manila Mayor allegedly shares Robredo’s sentimentOn the necessity to claim the 2016 arbitration decision
Domagoso’s statement was reported by the local media. China is not an “enemy”He stated that he supports joint exploration of oil and gas in South China Sea with China, if the contracts are approved by the Philippine government.