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Name: Micah Jonah A.

Afuang
Course and Section: ABFS 302
Subject: International Political Economy
Professor: Jumel G. Estrañero
Date: March 5, 2018

Who is the better ally for the Philippines: United States or China?
“Whoever owns the sea, owns the world”. This is one of the reasons why countries are
battling out for a territory. An example for this is the dispute in the South China Sea. States
within the South East Asia region are claiming the territory but there are two countries that have
the potential of owning it, the People’s Republic of China, and the Philippines.

Achieving peace within the international arena is going to be difficult especially when
there are disputes that are too difficult to settle. The Philippines and China are two countries that
belong to Asia. These two shared most of history and there are many Chinese people that are
presiding in the Philippines. Regardless of their historical background these two became rivals in
claiming their territorial rights in the South China Sea.

Last July 12 2016 the Philippines had won the arbitration case against the People’s
Republic of China and granted the sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea and that
China’s “nine-dash line” was invalid according to the United Nations Arbitral tribunal. Even
though there’s already a decision from the tribunal, the PRC government doesn’t accept it.
Despite of this, the Philippines is being peaceful and using diplomacy in dealing with the said
dispute, and according to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, he wanted peace and friendship
with China.

United States on the other hand are one of the Philippines’ longest ally. These two has
historically been strong and was described as a Special Relationship. But since there was a shift
of administration, the alliance between U.S. and the Philippines was slowly getting apart. Duterte
supports a foreign policy that is less dependent on the United States, and slowly shifting its
alliance to China. Hence, the relationship of U.S. and the Philippines today are not the same as
before.

China and United States’ relations are now considered as the World’s most important
bilateral relationship. These nations are fighting it out to be the best hegemon. We all know that
the U.S. is the sole super power, but China on the other hand is starting to steal the crown from
the U.S. As of this year, United States holds the largest economy in the world followed by China
as the second. Though China has the larger GDP, still the US has the most national wealth. The
question that matters most, which country should be the best alliance for the Philippines?
If we are going to look in a deeper sense, one of the reasons why these two big countries
wanted to be friends with the Philippines is because of its natural resources. China is now
starting to have deficiency in its natural resources; therefore they need to rely on other countries
for them to survive. In contrary, Philippines having China as their ally is one good thing for it
will help them to boost their economy and develop many investments. In the case of U.S. and
Philippines, their alliance became quite beneficial for both sides in the area of trade and
investments. The U.S. has been the Philippines’ largest foreign investor and they also had a
mutual-defense treaty in 1951 and were reaffirmed last November 2011.

The Philippines cannot rely on China and United States alone. There are many more
nations that are potential allies and have a better proposal for the country. Japan, Russia,
Singapore, Australia, and India are some of the countries that can be a good trade partners too. If
ever that there will be a future world war, those countries that the Philippines are relying on
today, cannot fully protect them for it has their own interest. Fast forward to the next decade, if
the countries within the Asia Pacific region will not maintain geopolitical balance, there can be a
possibility that a war can breakout because as to what is happening right now, some states are
just using others for the benefit of themselves and not for mutual benefits.

The conflict within the South China Sea is a reminder to the Philippines that not everyone
can be your friend. That sometimes, even though you treat them well, there is always a
possibility that they can betray you. The Philippines need to focus on developing itself and less
relying on to other states for help. The government should also exert more effort in training the
military so that if there is a war breakout, the government can protect its people. They also need
to be careful when choosing alliances so that they can be sure if the partnership that has done
will give aid and not add another dispute in the future.

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