Last December, Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress held the last Track Two Observer Discussion for 2021, with the topic “Philippines-China Relations During the Duterte Administration.” The forum served as a review of the developments, gains, and challenges that happened in the bilateral relations between the two countries following the shift in policy towards China when Duterte assumed office in 2016. With Duterte’s term finally ending, the assessment of the bilateral relations will serve as a basis for valuable recommendations for the next chief executive.

Noting the continuation of maritime security issues in Southeast Asian waters and the intensification of tensions among powers, Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation organized the webinar, “Southeast Asia’s Maritime Capacity Building: Recent Developments and Implications for the Philippines”, to discuss how Southeast Asian states are perceiving these developments, how these perceptions are informing their maritime capacity and capability developments, and how the Philippines is responding to these issues.

Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation held the second Track Two Observer Discussion Forum last October 7, 2021, with the topic Europe in Southeast Asia: Maritime Security Aspects. The forum’s discussion focused on European perspectives on the major maritime security issues in the Indo-Pacific and Southeast Asia region, with an eye to better understanding the implications of the European Union’s new Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and other security moves from the E3 (the United Kingdom, France, and Germany).

In recent years, a myriad of issues has emerged to destabilize the Indo-Pacific region, with challenges brought about by climate change, resource overextraction, and growing great power competition being among the many flashpoints in the region. Responding to these challenges, France has spearheaded renewed European interest in the Indo-Pacific, itself a resident Indo-Pacific power with overseas territories in both oceans.