15 August 2018
A proposed 60-40 split favouring the Philippines over China in rights to any oil or gas discovered together in a contested sea helps Beijing protect an iffy but valuable diplomatic relationship with Manila and prove its neighbourly credentials in other parts of Asia, analysts say.
A conciliatory oil deal could resonate around Asia where China is developing infrastructure as part of its $1 trillion, 5-year-old Belt and Road initiative, said Alan Chong, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
Beijing wants to keep favour with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations as the two sides discuss a code of conduct for avoiding accidents in the disputed sea, he added.
“I think this is one way of signalling that China is willing to be different kind of aid giver,” Chong said. “And then I think China wants to help Rodrigo Duterte a little, because he’s facing a lot of criticism from his own countrymen about selling out to China, ‘you’re being cozy with China, and you’re not getting very much in return.’”
CMS / GPO / Online
Last updated on 16/08/2018