Philippines and US Relations
Beyond the US connection
Since the end of the Marcos era (1986), European-Filipino relations, which had been neglected until then, have intensified. As part of the ASEM and regular dialogues between Manila and the EU, relations with the Republic of the Philippines, with which the Federal Republic of Germany is celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2014, has noticeably improved. In addition to a European Chamber of Commerce, the EU Commission also has a permanent delegation in the Philippines, which has been headed by the French diplomat Guy Ledoux since the beginning of 2011.
The new President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who has been in office since the end of June 2016, has announced that the longstanding, steadfast alliance with its big brother in the Pacific, the USA, will be put into perspective in the future. He envisages closer political cooperation with Russia and the People’s Republic of China. At the same time, he stressed that the routine Filipino-American military maneuvers – commonly known as “balikatan”, “shoulder to shoulder” – will take place for the last time in 2016. In the Philippine media, the President’s state visits to the People’s Republic of China and Japan in October 2016, which, in addition to increased economic and financial commitments, led to the partial de-escalation of the conflict in the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea, were especially recognized.
Not only in domestic politics, Duterte has struck a new tone and gathered appropriate people around him. The president also wants to set new accents in foreign policy. While the Philippines were always a reliable ally from the US perspective and the Filipinos were “little brown brothers”, Duterte envisions a new Manila-Beijing-Moscow axis as a counterweight to the former colonial power. His calculations: de-escalation of smoldering conflicts in the South China Sea (from Manila meanwhile renamed the West Philippine Sea) and anti-imperialist gesture. The PR of China and the USA compete for influence and power in a region where, in addition to the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Brunei and Taiwan also claim territories.
At the end of May Duterte paid a visit to Russia, during which he also conferred with President Vladimir Putin. This state visit was also about establishing closer bilateral economic and military ties. The Russian Navy has already shown its flag in the port of Manila. However, the visit was overshadowed by the political developments in Mindanao, where IS-loyal groups in Marawi City have been fighting with government troops since May 23. Shortly before his return flight to Manila, which was earlier than planned, Duterte signed the proclamation of martial law 216 in Moscow. He thus imposed martial law over the entire south of the country for an initial period of 60 days. Interestingly enough, Duterte has been rowing in his “anti-Americanism” since May 23 and today expressly welcomes the deployment of GIs in the south to finally end the siege of Marawi with their active support. In general, the relationship between Manila and Washington has improved noticeably since Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, moved into the White House there.
In addition to longstanding membership in multilateral organizations such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Philippines are also permanent members of the following organizations:
- United Nations Organization (UNO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
- Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Colombo plan
- World Customs Organization (WCO)
- Group of 24
- Group of 77
- International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
- International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
- International Criminal Police Organization
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
- International Olympic Committee (IOC)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- Non-aligned movement
- World Federation of Trade Unions
- World Tourism Organization (WTO)
- Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
According to mathgeneral, the Philippines are a signatory to the following major international treaties: Biodiversity; Climate change; Kyoto Protocol; Endangered species; Law of the Sea; Marine dumping; Ozone layer protection; Ship Pollution; Biological Weapons Convention; Chemical Weapons Convention; Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and Limited Test Ban Treaty.
The Philippines has also signed several international human rights treaties – including those against slavery, genocide, human trafficking, racial discrimination and torture – and committed to protecting the rights of women, children and refugees. Although the country has joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), it has not yet ratified its Performances and Phonograms Treaty and Copyright Treaty.
The Philippines have been trying for years to obtain observer status in the organization of the Islamic Conference or cooperation, which the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has enjoyed for a long time.