Opinion: Is Philippines’ China-Policy Shift a Strategy or Serendipity?

By Aileen S.P. Baviera

Departing from the previous government’s opposition to Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has downplayed maritime disputes in favor of pursuing close economic and political ties with China.

This shift has been rewarded by pledges of major fund infusions in support of Philippine infrastructure development, with a long wish list of projects now in the pipeline. Filipino fishermen have returned to their normal fishing activities around Scarborough Shoal, albeit under watch of the China Coast Guard.

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