This is in response to Dr. Peter Chalk’s commentary, “PRC Influence Operations in the Philippines: Can Beijing Flip the South China Sea Script?,” that was published in the May 19 issue of China Brief by the Jamestown Foundation.

The commentary made the disturbing claim that three Philippine organizations are linked to the so-called united front work (UFW) – apparently used here to refer to a broad range of activities purportedly aimed at advancing the Chinese Communist Party’s interests abroad.

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).