ASSESSMENTS

The Philippines Takes a Tougher Approach to Its South China Sea Claims

MIN READOct 6, 2020 | 10:00 GMT

Philippine and Chinese coast guard ships sail past each other in the South China Sea on May 14, 2019.

Philippine and Chinese coast guard ships sail past each other in the South China Sea on May 14, 2019.

(TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s South China Sea policy is becoming less conciliatory toward China, as he tries to balance growing pressure from within his administration to revitalize Manila’s security cooperation with the United States against the need to preserve his country’s economic ties with Beijing. The Duterte administration has recently made a number of statements emphasizing the Philippines’ extensive maritime dispute with China. This suggests a notable shift in Manila’s approach toward China, as the Philippine government has largely avoided making points of contention with Beijing since 2016. However, there appear to be divisions between the president and key members of his cabinet on the matter. ...

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