China Agreement with Philippines

On October 20, 2016, China and the Philippines signed an agreement aimed at resolving the long-standing territorial dispute in the South China Sea. The agreement, known as the “Joint Statement between the People`s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines,” was signed during a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines.

The territorial dispute in the South China Sea has been a source of tension between China and several Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia. China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including areas that are also claimed by other countries. This has led to increased militarization of the region, as well as incidents of harassment and intimidation of other countries` fishermen and naval vessels.

Under the terms of the agreement, China and the Philippines agreed to resolve their disputes through peaceful means. They also agreed to enhance cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, infrastructure development, and people-to-people exchanges.

One significant aspect of the agreement is the establishment of a joint steering committee to oversee cooperation in the South China Sea. This committee will be made up of officials from both countries and will be tasked with developing a framework for joint exploration of oil and gas resources in disputed areas.

The agreement has been hailed as a breakthrough in China-Philippines relations, which had been strained under the previous Philippine president, Benigno Aquino III. Aquino had taken a more confrontational approach towards China, even filing a case against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled in favor of the Philippines in 2016. The current Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has taken a more conciliatory approach towards China, which some critics say has come at the expense of Philippine sovereignty.

The agreement has also been criticized by some analysts, who argue that it does not do enough to protect Philippine interests in the South China Sea. They point out that the agreement does not address the issue of Chinese military presence in disputed areas, nor does it clarify the exact boundaries of the Philippines` exclusive economic zone.

Despite these criticisms, the China-Philippines agreement represents a step forward in resolving one of the most contentious territorial disputes in the world today. It demonstrates that through patient diplomacy and cooperation, even seemingly intractable conflicts can be resolved.