China wants to have the Philippines as an ally, and the Philippines wants to decrease its dependence on the United States. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent behavior suggests that a partnership with China is possible. However, the Philippines also needs protection from China’s aggressive or expansionist moves in the South China Sea, which threaten Philippine territorial claims. Until either Manila or Beijing is willing to give up on those claims, a Chinese-Philippine alliance will remain out of reach.
Forging an alliance with the Philippines would strengthen China’s strategic position and weaken the U.S.’ strategic position in the Pacific.
Duterte’s perceived madness and willingness to open a dialogue with China suggest that China and the Philippines could forge closer ties.
China and the Philippines have conflicting imperatives: Both claim sovereignty over some of the same islands in the South China Sea, and neither wants to give up thos