Philippines-China relations under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration continue to take center stage in Philippine public discourse. Since 2016, the Philippine government has undertaken efforts to improve relations with China. Based on interviews with members of the Philippine security community and government, this paper unpacks China’s security assistance to the Philippines under the Duterte administration in the period 2016–2020 and addresses several research gaps concerning Philippines-China security relations, including the points of convergence and divergence in the relations and the current trajectory of their cooperation. In particular, the paper explores Philippines-China security cooperation in 1) counterterrorism, 2) public safety, 3) strategic infrastructure, and 4) the South China Sea. Despite Beijing’s posturing as a potential security guarantor, it remains the Philippines’ top source of external insecurity, thus leading to a limited and cautious cooperation.
Amador III, Julio; Deryk Matthew N. Baladjay; Ilaria Carrozza; Marte Nilsen & Øystein H. Rolandsen (2021) An Appraisal of Philippines-China Security Relations under the Duterte Administration (2016–2020). PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.