In his first State of the Nation address on July 25, 2022, Marcos Jr. declared that the country will be pursuing an “independent foreign policy” and stated further that, “… the Philippines shall continue to be a friend to all [a]nd an enemy to none” and that “[w]e will be a good neighbor — always looking for ways to collaborate and cooperate with the end goal of mutually beneficial outcomes.”
On Jan. 3-5 this year, Marcos Jr. went on a State Visit to China. In his departure statement, he described his visit as “opening a new chapter in our Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation with China.”
The Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation (CSC) was entered into by the Philippines and China through a joint statement on the occasion of President Xi’s two-day state visit to Manila on Nov. 20-21, 2018.
29 cooperation documents were signed ranging from trade, investment and economic cooperation, infrastructure, agriculture, finance, information and communications technology, education, and culture.
CSC as an upgraded arrangement from the 2005 Strategic and Cooperative Relationship for Peace and Development (SCRPD)
the CSC relationship still ranks relatively low among China’s international partnerships” and that “the arrangement is unremarkable compared to China’s other international partnerships.”
Among the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), both noted that only the Philippines’ relations with China are at the level of cooperation and not a formal (strategic) partnership.
China has established a vast network of partnerships, resulting in 24 types of partnerships around the globe since the end of the Cold War, and has since put it at the center of its foreign policy strategy.
By the end of 2016, China had established partnerships with 78 countries and five regional organizations (
China’s partnerships can be grouped into three broad categories with a decreasing level of cooperation between each dyadic countries:
comprehensive strategic partnership
The term ‘comprehensive’ refers to cooperation in the economic, technological, cultural and political fields
The term ‘strategic’ means that cooperation between the two countries not only has an overall importance to the bilateral relationship but also is stable and long-term, overcoming the differences in ideology and political systems.
‘partnership’ means that the two countries cooperate on the basis of mutual-respect, mutual-trust and equality. Both sides strive to develop a win-win relationship that is mutually beneficial.”
Noting that China pursues its partnerships with countries it perceives as strategically more important within a region and economically more important for Chinese trade, Estrada and Ibarra assessed that “insofar as Chinese partnership diplomacy prioritizes regional strategy and market access considerations, China’s lower-level relationship with the Philippines reflects Chinese foreign policy makers’ assessment of the country as a lower-priority target in China’s political and economic strategy in Southeast Asia.”
Overall, the study emphasized that the Philippines had not (yet) been crucial for Chinese foreign policy.”
a RAND study that indicated “that as of 2018, the Philippines was one of the countries in Southeast Asia least aligned with China’s foreign policy goals:
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