As US and China are entangled in a bitter conflict over domination for their influence in the South China Sea, Philippine has ultimately jumped to the China’s camp severing its economic and military ties with the US. The departure from the US alliance is so radical that President Rodrigo Duterte now describes their relation with President Xi Jinping as brotherly further saying they could resolve their disputes themselves more appropriately and said categorically “ We have long ceased to be a colony of the United States” .
This shift of Duterte stand comes even after the favourable Hague tribunal verdict that Beijing did not have any historic rights to the South China Sea .It is noteworthy to mention that China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year and neighbours Brunei, Malaysia,the Philippine, Taiwan and Vietnam have claims to the disputed waters.
Philippine President visit to Beijing along with 200 businessman is a pointer to a ‘new commercial alliance in China-Philippine relations..It is hoped that $13.5 billion deals would be signed during Duterte’s Beijing trip. Describing this reversal of China-Philippine relations as a ‘milestone’,
Chinese leader observed that people of both the countries were brothers and could “appropriately handle disputes”
This military and economic alliance marks a serious setback to American influence over the region.What is even more significant is that US has lost a long term ally and that in South China Sea where both are in conflict over the supremacy of the disputed waters for the freedom of navigation.
Philippine joining China bloc gives an inclining into China’s reorienting its assertive and aggressive stance and adopting an accommodating policy towards other nations in the region which are culturally more similar to Beijing. China in turn welcomed the Philippines’ participation in its Maritime Sikh Road and committed to actively participate in the development of infrastructure , agriculture and finance in the Philippines .
Duterte statements that he has realigned with China in view of ideological flow attracts special significance especially in his further remarks elucidating that he will also approach President Putin to show China,Philippine and Russia together as against the World Power .
This poses a grave challenge to the United States as a superpower in this prevailing tense environment in the world where Middle East is marred with conflicts and Asia as a whole is coming under the influence of China especially when it has replaced Japan as a second largest ECONOMY.
Moreover,more and more countries are getting associated with growing China-Russia group openly declaring US as a declining power and terming China as a rising power in the world. Pakistani envoy Mushahid Hussein Syed said US is now a declining power and Islamabad is considering to join China-Russia group as alignment is going on in greater South Asia.
By Arti Bali