Why the Philippines Pulled Out of China's Belt-and-Road Project
14:43 GMT 03.11.2023 (Updated: 16:28 GMT 03.11.2023)
The Philippines forged closer ties with China and Russia under former President Rodrigo Duterte. But his successor, Bongbong Marcos, is following in the footsteps of his dictator father, said peace activist, writer, teacher and political analyst KJ Noh.
The Philippines is regressing to its historic status as a US colony by rejecting China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for trade and security, a pundit says.
Filipino President Bongbong Marcos
was among 23 regional leaders who attended the BRI summit
in Beijing in October.
However, transportation Secretary Jaime Batista of the archipelago nation announced on October 30 that three joint rail infrastructure projects on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao, totaling around $5 billion dollars, have been revoked. According to the minister, construction on the three lines was delayed by Beijing, as per the agreement made by Rodrigo Duterte, the predecessor of Marcos.
"We have three projects that are no longer being funded by the Chinese government," Bautista said. "We can't wait forever, and it seems that China is not that interested anymore."
That came a week after four Filipino navy ships entered disputed territorial waters claimed by the Chinese around islands in the South China Sea, resulting in a collision
with a Chinese warship.
Peace advocate KJ Noh
that Manila's decision was "very foolish".
"Marcos has put all his chips on a losing bet," Noh said. "The multipolar world is rising, linked to the economic infrastructure of the Belt and Road. It's the biggest global construction project on the planet."
He said the Filipino government was counting on continued "US geopolitical ascendancy, which is no longer the case."
"Essentially, they're saying that we side with the United States in its war against China, and economic benefit and win-win and neutral growth be damned," Noh said. "It's partly a legacy of the colonial legacy of the Philippines. The Philippines has always been a US client state and it's simply falling, reverting back to the norm in this situation."
The Philippines were under U.S. rule from the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898 until July 4, 1946.
The writer said Marcos' decision to emulate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was not surprising given his family's long relationship with Washington under his father, former President Ferdinand Marcos.
"The US was involved, interfered in 86 elections since World War Two," Noh pointed out. "The Philippines has always been the US's playground simply because the geostrategic value of the Philippines."
"Remember the father Marcos was a complete and total tin-pot US puppet. He did everything that the US did until they got tired of him and then they got rid of him. And this is the son. The son who does not fall far from the tree," he continued. "He did what these client politicians do — they signal left and they turn right."
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