The APPFI Board of Trustees held its annual meeting on January 25 to review activities for the past year and set directions for 2017. The meeting was presided over by Chairman of the Board Raphael Lotilla and was held at Jinjiang Inn in Makati. All board directors and members participated in the meeting.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s series of foreign trips this year concludes with the Cambodia-Singapore leg, making Myanmar the only remaining ASEAN country to be visited.

As the Philippines prepares for ASEAN chairmanship in 2017, consecutive visits to its neighboring countries were prioritized and effected immediately—with the administration barely six months in office.

This round of ASEAN visits aims to gather insights from its neighbors, to seek support for the Philippines’ ASEAN hosting, and to push for a united stand on issues affecting the region.

Each visit’s two- or three-day itinerary involved discussions on various areas of bilateral cooperation, ceremonies and state banquets, and meetings with businessmen and overseas Filipinos, some of which did not escape from issues and controversies.

“Domestic Politics and Manila’s Policy on the South China Sea” was the title of a presentation Dr. Baviera delivered at a Conference on New Dynamics in the South China Sea Disputes, organized by the China Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School for International Studies in Singapore on November 28, 2016. The China Foreign Affairs University was a co-organizer of the event, which brought together scholars and experts from Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, and China. From the discussions, it could be gleaned that while the countries that competed with China did not appear to have a grand strategy on how to manage the South China Sea, China had a clear vision that included defense modernization, economic initiatives under the framework of its 21st century Maritime Silk Road, and rejection of the arbitration ruling. In her presentaion, Dr Baviera highlighted elements of the political system, political culture, and traditional relationships that continue to shape Philippine foreign policy alongside changes that appear to be emerging under the Duterte administration.

©Development Academy of the Philippines

PASIG CITY (November 24) –  “You should not underestimate the whole spectrum of Russia-China relations”. These were the words of Dr. Viktor Sumsky, Director of the ASEAN Center of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, as he talked about how enduring the Russia-China relationship can be, even if the US should take a potentially drastic foreign policy shift under a Trump presidency. This was in response to the question on what would be the political basis of ties between Moscow and Beijing should the US revert to an isolationist foreign policy.

“You should not underestimate the factors of mutual gravitation which exist irrespective of the United States. And I’m talking here about the whole spectrum between us and China,” Dr. Sumsky said.