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South China Sea - Philippines and China Maritime Maneuvers

Most of the economic spectrum passes through Asia, in Asia the region of the southeast is growing rapidly in its regional cooperation, alliances, and other affiliations to support each other grow together and stronger to face the global order by standing through with dominance. Being the largest trading partner of the Philippines, China receives commodities such as  integrated circuits, office machine parts, and nickel ore as primary trade.  

An Illustration on the South China Sea

Illustration by The Geostrata

Diplomatic bilateral relations between them were established on 9th June 1975 to enhance cooperation, but with time the ties took a turn and resulted in a negative trust view of the Philippines towards China due to the internal power change in the Philippines. After president Marcos, the relationship between China and the Philippines started to deteriorate rapidly due to the power shift and the involvement in the dispute over the South China Sea.

The Philippines is an old Southeast Asian ally of the US and also a strategic partner in the region for the US counter to China in the South China Sea, the dispute in the South China Sea is about Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam claiming their maritime territory and China overlapping it with its nine dash line over it.

What makes the South China Sea so important is its economic value for trade and development as it holds 11 billion barrels of untapped oil and 190 Trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the sea also has conflict over multiple geographical features like islands, reefs, banks, etc.

Some important locations like the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Scarborough shoals, and many boundary-touching geography of the Gulf of Tonkin. The South China Sea alone is responsible for 80% of the world trade which is worth 5.3 Trillion Dollars, the sea holds another golden strategic value straight from Malacca is a crossroad between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

All this impacts the circulation of trade all around the world affecting economies in direct order, as the conflict grows it makes the region prone to danger and creates a red zone for the trading ships and routes to pass by which will cause loss of trillions of dollars in a single move, to avoid that the market will adopt other means to perform trade which will cause inflation and an uneven economy in the region.

Alongside, countries would be forced to find alternatives to these Asian countries’ contribution to trade leading the South China Sea countries to poverty and the eventual outcome will be a catastrophic conflict that causes maximum collateral damage and long-term unrest in the region resulting in setbacks to the country’s development and growth on a global level.

The China-Philippine relationship is not only about the South China Sea conflict it is beyond the territorial dispute, China and the Philippines share a large trading relationship, and China is a bigger power that has been trying to impose its regulations on the Philippines in trade which has caused changes in its internal trade and economy.

The Philippines had to face stricter implementation of rules and regulations by Chinese authorities in trade agreements and transactions. This made China’s intention very clear about being the one dictating bilateral relations, due to the heavy implications of such regulations, rules, and by-laws, in 2012 there was a ban imposed on Philippine banana import due to the discovery of mill bugs in several containers.

This strengthens the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Philippines not only condemned China’s act in the sea and trade but also its partnership and took action by exiting the BRI – Belt Road Initiative, Philippes is not the first country to exit BRI due to China’s inaccuracy and incompetence in completing the vows made during at the time of the initiative building with the countries.

In 2013 China and the Philippines practiced soft power after the harsh step of the Philippines last year, this included the exchange of culture and tourism to promote and keep the flow of economic ties.


Although, despite performing soft power the Philippines and China went through the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague which verdicts in favor of the Philippines stating that Beijing’s expansive claims through the nine-dash line do not stand under international law.

This incident may have favored the Philippines but did not end the reign of conflict in the sea due to Beijing’s constant naval presence through its coastguard vessels and operational exercises, it created an alarming scenario for the Philippines concerning its maritime security and safeguarding its naval borders.

This conflict picked up the head and spread among other regions calling for alliances to take a stand and support the Philippines in the situation, including the United States and many other countries that participated in recognizing the conflict and its effects in the region.

Philippines' affiliation with the US is symbolic of the United States’s encountering will against China and in this bargain Philippines gets the support of a power, this intervention has made China active in the sea more than ever to establish its dominance and made a statement about keeping this issue regional oriented and west or global. 




2 коментарі

Abhigyan Duarah
Abhigyan Duarah
19 черв.



Amazing analysis of the conflict in south china sea

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