2017 has proven to be both a challenging and interesting time for Philippine foreign policy. The Philippines is entering a stage of a rapidly evolving international environment with indicators of China’s continuing rise to global power status. APPFI, staying true to its mission of helping forge understanding of how the Philippines is affected by regional and international events, is pleased to present “Philippines-China Relations: a Synoptic Review.” This short video documentary, including expert voices from our 2016 conference "In Search of a China Strategy",  provides a vantage point to help the Philippines steer its China relations in these times. Join us as we explore different aspects of Philippines-China ties set against the context of broader developments in the Asia-Pacific region.

Engaging China: Breaking New Paths for Cooperation and Mutual Respect

11 May 2015

Many pundits have said that the 21st Century will see gobal power shifting to the Asia Pacific, driven by rapid growth and technological innovation, among others. Yet the Asia Pacific region currently faces immense uncertainties & challenges, including the increasing salience of geopolitical competition, fragile political systems, and the imperatives of economic integration and intensifying regionalism. Failure by countries in the region, as well as its institutions of regional governance, to craft correct strategies and approaches to these developments may lead to crises. China, and yet not only China but the countries of Southeast Asia, India, Japan, the United States, among others, will be the main actors on this stage.

The Chinese word for “crisis” is a combination of two characters: “danger” & “opportunity”. In the recent evolution of the Philippines-China relationship, we have seen danger in the form of growing perceptions of coercive behavior, as well as misguided nationalism in both countries, particularly surrounding questions of sovereignty over territory. However, we also see new opportunity because of the much more focused attention now given to the relations by the two countries’ top leaders & thinkers, who recognize that cooperation & mutual respect are not only desirable but imperative values between neighbors. It is here that APPFI seeks to contribute to a better understanding of China’s role in the evolving regional environment and its implications for the Philippines.

Thus, APPFI’s flagship program for 2015-2017 is “Engaging China: Breaking New Paths for Cooperation & Mutual Respect”. The program seeks to bring together government, industry, intellectual leaders , and other stakeholders who can bring to the table innovative ideas & lessons from experience towards contributing to a more stable & beneficial China policy for the Philippines.

“Engaging China” involves at one level convening policy colloquia & roundtables among experts on their recommended visions, goals and strategies for Philippines-China relations; the findings will be written into a report which will be extensively disseminated and hopefully debated upon. A second level involves embarking on a major program of intellectual exchanges and networking activities among key Filipino and Chinese individuals and institutions, intended to enhance mutual understanding and mutual respect.

APPFI invites and encourages partnership arrangements with stakeholders from the two countries based on reciprocity and shared principles.