Wedge Strategies and Alliance Politics: Chinese Coercion and the U.S.-Philippine Alliance
Location: Online, via Zoom
Sponsor: Harvard University Asia Center
Co-sponsor: Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
Philippines Lecture Series
Speaker: Robert S. Ross, Professor of Political Science, Boston College
Moderator: James Robson, James C. Kralik, and Yunli Lou Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Harvard College Professor; Victor and William Fung Director, Asia Center, Harvard University
Presented via Zoom webinar. Register here.
Abstract: This talk examines China’s wedge strategy toward the U.S.-Philippine alliance during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III. Although the Philippine-China sovereignty dispute was the proximate cause of Chinese coercion, it does not explain Chinese policy. Chinese policy evolution and the writings of Chinese scholars and think-tank analysts make clear that China’s foremost concern was that the Philippine’s defense cooperation with the United States in support of its sovereignty claims contributed to the U.S. “pivot” to Asia and to U.S. “containment” of China. China used its military and economic capabilities to undermine Philippine confidence in U.S. support and to weaken the Philippine economy, thus driving a wedge between the Philippines and the United States and undermining the U.S. challenge to Chinese security. After the Philippines adjusted it alignment between China and the United States, China eased its coercion and it used economic “rewards” to consolidate Philippine realignment. The talk concludes with a brief discussion of the implications of the Marcos, Jr., presidency for U.S.-China competition and regional affairs.