Next week Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who took power in late June, will make his first state visit to China.
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte not expecting and will not be demanding: the return of Scarborough Shoal, which China seized from the Philippines in 2012, sparking demonstrations by Filipinos around the world.
Scarborough Shoal is a large coral atoll with a reef-rimmed lagoon, Scarborough Shoal lies about 120 nautical miles (222 km, 138 miles) from the Philippines’ coast. Filipino fishermen have relied on the atoll’s rich fishing grounds for generations. China has blocked their access to it since the takeover.
This could be good news for Chinese and Philippine energy companies. China’s prevented the Philippines from exploring for oil off its own coast. There are oil or natural gas deposits that fall within both the nine-dash line and other nations’ EEZs. China and Philippines could negotiate “joint development”. Each could getting a share of the profits.
The Philippines would take a position closer to Cambodia’s, a country that has backed Beijing’s South China Sea positions in international forums.
Cambodia received significant aid or investment from China.
In mid-September Duterte said the Philippines would begin buying weapons from China and Russia (the US is the traditional main supplier), and that it would cease joint patrols of the South China Sea with the US.
The Philippines will likely get a lot of loans and trade deals at the meeting next week.
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