Acting Director-General Julio S. Amador III of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) co-presented the paper “U.S.-Philippines Security Ties: Building New Foundations?” with Dr. Charmaine Misalucha of the De La Salle University (DLSU) at a workshop organized by the Australian National University (ANU) and the East-West Center in Washington on 14-15 April 2015 at the Pew Conference Center in Washington, D.C.
During the paper presentation, Dr. Misalucha and Mr. Amador illustrated how “the Mischief Reef and Scarborough Shoal incidents propelled the Philippines to internationalize the South China Sea issue. The country sought multilateral support from ASEAN, and thereafter initiated an arbitration case under the UNCLOS umbrella. The hope in seeking arbitration is to establish a rules-based regional architecture. Regardless of the formal judgment, which is forthcoming, the Philippines’ decision to utilize international structures shifts the conversation from protecting strict strategic interests to protecting the global commons. In this way, the Philippines is indeed advocating the building of new foundations. At the same time, the country realizes that, given its limitations, the effective implementation of a new regional architecture depends on the participation, engagement, and continued commitment of its ally, which is why the Philippines is relentless in reinvigorating its relations with the United States.”
The workshop gathered experts from the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia to continue the investigation of “America’s Asian Allies: Managing Competitive and Cooperative Pressures.” Key issues raised during the course of the investigation include how the coexistence of cooperation and competition in Sino-American relations affect the security policies of Washington’s allies and actual/potential security partners.
The workshop also analyzed how the aforementioned states sustain balanced national security postures between China and the US given the increasingly integral role of China in their own economic and diplomatic agendas along with US expectations of alliance loyalty/partner affinity as embodied by the US “rebalancing” strategy and other initiatives.