08 May 2017
China and the Philippines are expected to cement a year of solid relations this month by signing a cautious yet friendly agreement on joint use of a tract of sea that has deeply divided them. Both countries decided in October to improve cooperation between their coast guards, study a way of handling “emergency incidents” and pursue “humanitarian and environmental concerns,” including protection of the marine environment, according to a text of the statement.
A deal would let China tell other countries it can work peacefully with Southeast Asian maritime claimants after the world court ruling and without pressure from the United States, a historic military ally of the Philippines, said Collin Koh, Maritime Security Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
“On the part of the China, it’s very keen to keep using the Philippines as sort of a center of peace of its very peaceful approach to the South China Sea after the arbitral award that was released last year,” Koh said. “And in fact you see it’s using it as a very good counterpoint to say ‘hey look, the U.S. shouldn’t come into the Philippines despite the fact that the Philippines is an ally.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 09/05/2017