Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will begin a visit to the Philippines today in Manila. Qin will meet his counterpart
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will begin a visit to the Philippines today in Manila.
Qin will meet his counterpart Enrique Manalo to discuss a proposed resolution mechanism to manage disputes in the South China Sea. In January, Philippine President Bongbong Marcos made an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that their countries would try to amicably resolve conflicts in the South China Sea. However, tensions over the area persist, including a March meeting where Filipino diplomats confronted their Chinese counterparts over the Chinese navy targeting a Philippine Coast Guard ship with a military-grade laser. In response, the Chinese diplomats reiterated their strong opposition to joint Philippine-US military drills and the ongoing US military presence in the Philippines.
Qin’s visit will likely alleviate short-term tensions over the South China Sea, with both sides likely to claim progress towards implementing the dispute resolution mechanism. However, the agreement’s effectiveness will likely be limited as it does not resolve fundamental points of contention between the two countries, such as ongoing Chinese base building and the Philippine’s long-term US alliance. Increasing Chinese naval power and aggressiveness in the area will likely worsen disputes in the coming years if the Philippines continues to maintain positive ties with the US.