Rodrigo Duterte, the former president of the Philippines, tried to improve ties with China during his presidency in the hope of securing economic benefits for the country. However, those efforts did not see fruition. During his 2022 presidential campaign, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. did not openly criticize Duterte’s China policy. In fact, he argued that the policy of engagement was correct, saying “we don’t want to go to war with China” over the South China Sea. Moreover, the Marcos family has maintained warm ties with Beijing throughout the decades. But changes are afoot. The newly elected President Marcos is adopting a tougher stance on the South China Sea disputes and calling for a renegotiation of loan agreements with China for railway projects worth almost $5 billion. In today’s episode of China Global, Bonnie Glaser is joined by Dr. Charmaine Willoughby, Associate Professor of International Studies at De La Salle University in Manila. They discuss the past, present, and future developments in the China-Philippines relationship and examine how the relationship may change under the new Marcos government.
[1:30] Duterte’s China Policy
[4:36] Change under the New Marcos Government?
[6:53] Philippines’ Relations with the United States
[8:45] Public Opinion in the Philippines toward China
[14:10] Joint China-Philippines Energy Exploration Talks
[17:15] Railway Projects Loan Agreements with China
[19:14] Future Developments