years ago the Philippines used to be entrenched in the bitterest of disputes with local giant China, bringing a David v Goliath-style case towards it over the South China Sea islands.
Rapid forward to offer day: now, the Philippines needs Chinese money.
What came about? Neatly partially there may be a real catch 22 situation here for the Philippines.
It Is a small island united states, stuck at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific, surrounded by way of much better, powerful international locations.
The Philippines’ major source of source of revenue and armed forces help has been from its former colonial masters, the U.s.a..
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte
As a part of this new strategy, Secretary Dominguez additionally instructed me that the Philippines is launching a US$200m bond factor to China for the first time in October, to take a look at and faucet investment in the country.
However funding from China never comes with out strings hooked up, I pointed out to him – and the record of Asian countries that have taken loans from Beijing only to find themselves unable to pay those money owed again is growing rapid. Is the Philippines next?
Secretary Dominguez was once fast to disregard such considerations.
“we think Chinese loans can also be beneficial to us, in particular if we negotiate them in a suave means,” he informed me. “Nobody is forcing it down our throats.”
It Is a controversy I Have heard from many Asian officers who privately have told me that the cash from Beijing is too just right to ignore, and are yes that they will have the ability to milk the relationship to their very own benefit.
But it is usually a perilous route to tread.
“There are a lot of cautionary stories around the area of nations that pop out on the shedding finish,” Maria Ressa, leader government of the Rappler website and long-time Philippines observer advised me.
“The Duterte administration recognizes that we’re weaker, however that we even have one thing to offer China. They Are attempting something new – however are they really as suave as they say they are? we will need to wait and see.”
For now though, it does appear to be China has the higher hand.
Beijing’s One Belt One Road initiative, a huge infrastructure project across so much of the sector has additionally convinced many Asian companions that China’s pastime in them is for the long run.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of Asian countries feel that their conventional ally, the us, has transform unreliable on the grounds that Mr Trump was elected. although they won’t say it publicly, the shift in financial and industry technique is revealing.
“Our business with the us will proceed, however not be as big a a part of the economic system because the prior,” Secretary Dominguez advised me. “We used to have handiest American vehicles within the sixties….now we’re seeing Chinese Language bikes. We must transfer with the times.”
China’s cash would possibly come with its own set of unique complications however the view from here is no less than it is paying attention to what Asia wishes.