How the Philippines could become a hotspot in the US-China rivalry

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Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte recently reversed his decision to terminate his country’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States. The move comes despite the fact that relations between the Philippines and the US have not been cordial in recent years as the Southeast Asian nation has grown closer to China.

China has promised to invest in the Philippines but these projects largely have yet to materialize. In addition, China has recently built two research stations on the Filipino-claimed Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

China’s encroachment on the Philippines’ territory forced Duterte to rethink his decision to step away from the US and drop the VFA. For the Philippines, relations with China and the US present a dilemma: a choice between economic development from Beijing—delayed, but still possible—and protection for its strategic interests from Washington.

How the Philippines could become a hotspot in the US-China rivalry

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