Category Archives: Spratleys

Philippines, US Conduct Joint Naval Exercises in Visayas

Another round of joint military activities with the United States has been conducted in the central Philippines. The maritime exercise would focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Still, this is considered significant given President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated threats that exercises with the US would be cancelled. He has since backtracked after admitting that the military already has a rapport with US troops and that the… Continue reading

Duterte Thumbs Down Second Hand Military Equipment from US, Eyes New Weapons from Other Countries

President Rodrigo Duterte resumed his criticism of the US, declaring that he would not accept second-hand weapons and military equipment from American military forces. He said that he is willing to double the Philippine military’s procurement budget, so long as the weapons are brand new. He added that he would source new top of the line equipment from two nations; these are most likely to be Russia and China, with which… Continue reading

Who Benefits from China’s Loans and Grants to the Philippines?

Concerns have been raised on what the country has to give up for Chinese assistance. Aside from the effects of Chinese loans on the Philippine debt burden, there are warnings of a possible imbalance in the deals, as China would be providing everything from the banks and investment money to the materials and industry. Some have also connected President Rodrigo Duterte’s friendlier mining stance to the relationship with China, as the country is a major source of nickel ore. Background… Continue reading

China Commits Additional $26 Billion for Infrastructure

President Rodrigo Duterte announced that China has committed an additional $26 billion in loans, grants, and investments. The commitment was made during the One Belt One Road summit in Beijing. The two sides also firmed up one of several infrastructure deals that would see the building of two key bridges to ease traffic in Metro Manila. Defense and military officials were also ordered to check on the compatibility of Chinese armsContinue reading

Duterte Open to Joint Exploration of South China Sea

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is open to exploring the South China Sea’s natural resources with rival claimants China and Vietnam. He added that he had no immediate plans to pressure China over an international tribunal’s ruling last year that its sweeping claims to most of the sea were unlawful. A similar agreement was signed during the Arroyo administration, but the Supreme Court later ruled this unconstitutional after it… Continue reading

Scaled Back Military Exercise with the US Resumes

Joint military exercises with the US have resumed despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration last year that these would be cancelled. Military authorities, however, admit that this year’s version has been massively scaled back with the exercises limited to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and counter terrorism rather than the usual war games featuring maritime security and territorial defense. Duterte has publicly… Continue reading

Duterte Refuses to Pressure China on Arbitral Ruling During ASEAN Summit

President Rodrigo Duterte will not bring up the arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines when the country hosts the ASEAN Summit. Saying it is useless to discuss the decision that China had already said it would ignore, the president said he will talk to the Chinese regarding the dispute at a later date. A code of conduct on the South China Sea will instead be pushed, even as Duterte acknowledged that he could not do anything about… Continue reading