ADRi Occasional Paper: “Hanging in the Balance: Checking on Beijing’s Trillion-Dollar Unfulfilled Promise to the Philippines”

We are pleased to share with you our Occasional Paper for May 2021 entitled, “Hanging in the Balance: Checking on Beijing’s Trillion-Dollar Unfulfilled Promise to the Philippines”, and authored by Atty. Terry Ridon, a Non-Resident Fellow of ADRi and Convenor of InfraWatch PH.

Highly relevant to the current geopolitical maneuverings in the Indo-Pacific region, the paper provides an in-depth analysis of the non-beneficial and lopsided bilateral relations between China and the Philippines. The paper focuses on the argument that despite pursuing an “appeasement foreign policy” towards China, the Philippines has yet to receive substantial returns.

In its twilight years, the Duterte administration has continued to project China as the nation’s savior, with no recalibration from its posture from the beginning of its term. For China, its government must not treat the Philippines as a pawn that can be left hanging in the balance, but rather on equal footing – whether it be on diplomacy, issues of sovereignty, or infrastructure initiatives.

Relative to the ADRi’s advocacy on promoting territorial integrity and defending maritime rights in the West Philippine Sea and the stand for a rule-based international order, this paper sheds light on both possible and imminent adverse impacts of corrosive investments from China on institutions, democratic processes, and national security. It also covers the issues and challenges brought by the controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which is seen by many as China’s aggressive use of economic largesse to extend its influence and strategically capture states in the guise of investments and developmental aid.

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