Analysis: Why the Philippine Election Could Be China’s Victory


Now with the elections to determine Duterte’s successor just days away, analysts say there is an opportunity to re-establish relations between the Philippines and its two superpowers, which could change the balance of power in Asia as a result.

How it is shaped can be attributed to the goal of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the late-outdone dictator of the Philippines, who is widely known to be more friendly to China, and named after the current presidential forerunner. than his closest rival, incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo.

Who the Filipinos choose to vote on Monday will have an impact far beyond borders.

In the case of the United States, it includes rotation of U.S. forces under close ties with the Philippines. 20 year contractWashington is critical to its strategy in the region as it seeks to counter China’s growing footprint.
The Philippines has been at the forefront of China’s ambitions in the South China Sea, and in recent years Manila has blamed Beijing. to intimidate A “maritime militia” was called in to drive out Coast Guard ships and fishing boats. Beijing is claiming the resource-rich sea as its own, even after Manila has contested and prevailed in an international arbitration court.

However, in 2016, Duterte Analysts say the court’s ruling will signal how far the next Philippine president will use the ruling to expand China’s territory, as well as other leaders of Southeast Asian countries challenging China’s territorial claims. say it will

“The Philippines is of great strategic importance to both the United States and China. China currently faces domestic problems, but continues to expand its activities in the South China Sea,” said Joshua Kurlantzick, Senior Researcher for Southeast Asia. New York Council on Foreign Relations Asia.

“The United States will put a lot of effort into building ties with those who lead the Philippines simply for strategic reasons,” he said.

balancing act

Manila has long struggled to balance relations with these great powers, and President Duterte’s pro-China tendencies in particular will force the president to seek ties with both forces.

Marcos, Duterte’s daughter Sarah’s running mate, has been arguing for years that Manila should deal with China bilaterally over territorial claims.

Critics see his position as a respect for China, and in recent months Marcos met with Chinese ambassador Huang Xilian.

Beijing has praised Duterte’s relationship with Duterte since his first visit to China, which Chinese President Xi Jinping described last month as “an icebreaker trip that will mark a milestone in the history of Sino-Philippines relations.” You are ready to “continuously improve” your relationship.

The goodwill seems to extend to Marcos, who has built a relationship with Chinese ambassador Huang Xilian in recent months. Huang met Marcos at the October event and said it was “a great honor” and that as supporters of the Sino-Philippines relationship, “Together we are paving the way for a brighter future.”

One issue with the United States is the human rights lawsuit in the United States seeking compensation for the victims of the brutal regime of the late Elder Marcos.

Analysts suggest that this could complicate the president’s future visit to the US if Marcos wins. Marcos has recently described relations with the United States as “special”, but perceived ridicule at the White House could bring Marcos closer to Beijing.

However, according to Richard Heydarian, a political science professor at the Philippine Polytechnic University, how much he can rely on China may be constrained by the public wanting to see a more pragmatic but firm line toward China than it did during Duterte’s presidency. Marcos also added that military installations that criticize China must be managed.

“And even in the case of (Robredo), she cannot have a confrontational policy against China, because the vast majority of Filipinos and the Filipino military even recognize the limitations of the Philippines in terms of fighting China … (and) many Filipinos have also expressed their willingness to support economically productive relations with China.” He added that Robredo is also open to economic participation as long as it does not conflict with Philippine sovereignty.

President Duterte’s final years in office emphasized a delicate balance, in which the president not only withdrew his investigation into the United States, but also withdrew the pledge to revoke the agreements governing the presence of American troops in the United States, as well as large-scale joint rallies. because it hosted Pushing back military training with U.S. forces and a Chinese maritime presence amid growing awareness that China has failed to live up to its promises to the Philippines.

“The reality is that China has not reciprocated President Duterte’s charisma,” Heydarian said. opinion.

an uncertain future

Experts say it’s not yet clear to what extent Marcos will try to extend Duterte’s pivot to China, experts say.

However, there are indications that Marcos, unlike Robredo, may face Duterte more closely in dealing with the South China Sea issue.

Philippine Vice President Lenny Robredo addresses a crowd in Manila on May 1, 2022.

Throughout the campaign, Robredo will rely on the power of numbers to engage with China in multilateral relations with friendly countries to “help small countries like the Philippines do everything they need to do to use the 2016 (South China Sea) arbitration award”. made it clear said Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby, associate professor of international studies at De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines.

She added that Robredo “stops the burden” on whether China will accept a court ruling on the Philippines’ claim to allow certain deals with China, such as joint oil exploration in the South China Sea.

Marcos also showed a hardline attitude toward China at a debate earlier this year. He said he would send warships into the South China Sea to protect the Philippines’ claims. However, the lack of detail has raised the question of whether this is a futile claim. Instead, analysts point to his longstanding call for a bilateral resolution.

Aries Arugai, visiting researcher at ISEAS-, said: “Marcos has insisted that he do business with China in a more two-way fashion, which is what China wants and puts the Philippines in a weaker position again.” Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

But Arugay also pointed to the balance issue, adding that even if Marcos pursued a deeper relationship with Beijing, that might not necessarily be at the expense of its relationship with the United States.

“Like other Philippine presidents, if he wins,[Marcos]will try to get into America,” he said.

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