South China Sea: Expert: Philippines’ assertive posture is driving tensions

Our reporter Huang Yue has sat down with Anna Malindog-Uy, the Vice President of External Affairs at the Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute. The Philippine expert says Manila’s assertive posture is a key factor driving current tensions in the South China Sea. She also calls on ASEAN to play a bigger role in resolving maritime issues.  

HUANG YUE CGTN Reporter “The tensions in the South China Sea have further intensified recently. In your opinion, what are the key factors contributing to the tensions?”

ANNA MALINDOG-UY Vice President of External Affairs of Asian Century, Philippines Strategic Studies Institute “I think one of the key factors that is contributing to the intensifying and escalating tension between the Philippines and China is that very assertive posture or position of the Philippines at this time. As you can see, there’s a change in foreign policy. And the previous administration, President Duterte somewhat have a more negotiating posture and more collaborative and cooperative pusher with China when you talk about the South China Sea. But this time around, as you can see, the current administration of Marcos Jr. is more assertive, I think. And on the other hand, I understand that China claiming on parts of South China Sea, especially that part of its sovereign territory would do a countermeasure to that very assertive claim on by the Philippines. I think that’s one thing.

And I another factor, I think, most probably the current administration of Marcos Jr is having this kind of thinking that probably the United States will back it up the Philippines, whatever happens in the South China Sea, especially when you talk about military outbreak or some kind of skirmishes that is more intensified.”

HUANG YUE CGTN Reporter “Looking ahead, what are the most critical steps needed to manage the current tensions?”

ANNA MALINDOG-UY Vice President of External Affairs of Asian Century, Philippines Strategic Studies Institute “If you look at the situation, it’s very difficult. No one will bend. That’s why I’m saying set aside this dispute, focus on South China Sea, looking at it as public good and sea of cooperation and peace and friendship, probably by focusing on that and by doing that, everyone benefits, everyone is happy. 

There are two ways of negotiation. You have can be bilateral. You talk it out between the two countries. The other one is more like multilateral within the ambit of ASEAN, because you have the ASEAN and ASEAN has a role to play. It should not be the United States, but it should be ASEAN. So if my country can push for this, I think this tension in the South China Sea would de-escalate at the same time. Probably more cooperation will come in and understanding between the two countries would be deeper and more compared to what is going on right now, that there’s like a diplomatic crisis between China and the Philippines.

This dispute to be very frank will never be resolved even in 10 years’ time. I think the next generation can resolve it. And just sit it there. Just negotiate on what needs to be done. That benefits both countries and other countries in Southeast Asia. That should be the attitude of people at this time rather than escalating the conflict.”`

Source: CGTN

Prof. Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy

Prof. Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development (ISSCAD), Peking University, Beijing, China. She is currently a director and the Vice President for External Affairs of the Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute (ACPSSI), a think tank based in Manila. She also serves as the political/geopolitical analyst of ACPSSI. Currently, she is a Senior Researcher of the South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI) and a Senior Research Fellow of the Global Governance Institution (GGI). She is also the President of Techperformance Corp, an IT-based company in the Philippines. Prof. Anna Uy taught Political Science, International Relations, Development Studies, European Studies, Southeast Asia, and China Studies. She is a researcher-writer, academic, and consultant on a wide array of issues. She has worked as a consultant with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other local and international NGOs.