Admin yet to find 'right balance' in ties with China, says analyst


Posted at Feb 16 2018 10:55 PM

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MANILA - The issue surrounding the Philippine Rise and China's naming of several features in the undersea plateau reveals that the Duterte administration has not yet arrived at a correct balance in its relationship with the economic giant, a senior editor for an international news magazine said Friday.

MalacaƱang said it has complained to China about its submission of names for 5 features in the resource-rich plateau formerly called "Benham Rise" to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

"I think it is pretty problematic because I think the Benham Rise issue is just one manifestation of a broader concern, which is, I don’t think that President Duterte and his administration have found the right balance on how to deal with China on the South China Sea issue more generally," said Prashanth Parameswaran, a Washington-based editor for The Diplomat.

"I think there’s a sense that because the Philippines is engaging China economically and diplomatically, there might have been a sense that there might have to be a softening of the stance on the South China Sea," he he told ANC's Early Edition.

An international tribunal, acting on a case brought by President Rodrigo Duterte's predecessor Benigno Aquino, rejected Beijing's claims to most of the South China Sea in 2016.

Duterte, however, has set this decision aside as he distanced Manila from its traditional ally, the United States, and embraced China, seeking financial and military aid.