China may use infrastructure deals as leverage on West PH Sea issue: analyst

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2018 08:49 PM

MANILA -- The Philippines could be at the losing end of its deals with China, a geopolitical analyst warned Sunday, amid growing Chinese investments in the country.

Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADR Institute for Strategic and International Studies, said the Philippine government should be cautious in signing agreements with China and other nations to avoid falling into a so-called "debt diplomacy."

"We laud any support coming from any friendly country... What we worry is the history of China with other countries whereby the so-called debt trap due to interest rate and poor quality of infrastructure. We just need to be more transparent as we negotiate and finalize possible partnerships with China," he told ANC.

Manhit noted several projects of the Philippine government with China have become controversial due to corruption issues hounding some Chinese firms. He also raised concerns that Beijing may use its infrastructure deals with Manila as leverage when it comes to the West Philippines Sea dispute.

"The difference with China is the reality that they might use this as a way to control or use this to silent us on a very important issue which is our maritime right and territorial integrity regarding the West Philippine Sea territories, which has been defined as ours by the permanent court of arbitration," he said.