Philippines Calls for Separate Code of Conduct With Vietnam, Malaysia

    Philippines Calls for Separate Code of Conduct With Vietnam, Malaysia
    Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Philippine Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday that his country has approached other ASEAN members with whom they have territorial disputes, namely Malaysia and Vietnam, to formulate a separate code of conduct in the South China Sea, amid mounting tensions with the PRC.

    • On his way home from an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the US, where he met China's Xi Jinping, Marcos further claimed during his speech in Hawaii that Beijing has shown interest in atolls and shoals "closer and closer" to the Philippine coast.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    The Philippines must strengthen military and economic ties with both the US and regional neighbors. These military tensions, exemplified by the standoff at the Second Thomas Shoal, highlight the need for Washington to fulfill its defense commitments under the US-Philippines treaty. With China becoming Philippines' main trade partner, the US must also enhance free trade to maintain its strategic position, helping Manila and its Western allies to safeguard national security throughout the South China Sea and maintain a balance of power in the region.

    Pro-China narrative

    The Philippines has built quite an extravagant force of biased media outlets in its attempt to paint China as a vicious predator in the region. Backed by multiple Western outlets, Manila has fabricated stories ranging from Chinese Coast Guard ships chasing down fishermen to Chinese fishermen digging up coral reefs. Actually, it's the Philippines that has encroached on China — proving this to be an incremental raising of tensions to garner anti-China support among regional neighbors.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 1% chance that there will be a deadly clash involving gunfire or explosives between the US and China before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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