When history is written one day of how a country called the Philippines dealt with China, would it make for a legend about how it smartly navigated geopolitical waters to assert its territorial and economic rights – or a case study in how to bend over backwards and cede these to its giant neighbour to the north? One year after it made history by winning against China at The Hague-based arbitration tribunal – which found its construction activities in the South China Sea illegal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea — the Philippines’ victory has remained mostly on paper.
A consensus remains elusive on how the country of more than 102 million people wants to respond to China’s behaviour in what it calls the West Philippine Sea — even as Manila has already lost much control and access there
The South China Sea has become a laboratory for viewing China’s behaviour as a global player, and how less powerful states handle this in terms of diplomacy and strategy.
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