The Complex Interdependence of China's Belt and Road Initiative in the Philippines

Vol: 
5 (3)
Author name: 
Rabena, Aaron Jed
Journal title: 
Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies
Year: 
2018
Month: 
August
Abstract: 

Complex interdependence refers to the multiple channels of interaction and agenda in interstate relations, which involve domestic (public and private) stakeholders and nonmilitary issues. Since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) came into being, most analyses have largely focused on infrastructure development. The BRI not only has the potential to impact a host government’s socioeconomic agenda but also its overall bilateral relationship with China. It is therefore imperative to measure the progress and prospects of China’s Belt and Road projects in the Philippines, in line with Beijing’s strategic goal to deepen complex interdependence with partner‐states, against the BRI’s five major dimensions of cooperation: (a) policy coordination, (b) infrastructure development and connectivity, (c) trade and investment facilitation, (d) financial coordination and integration, and (e) people‐to‐people ties and connectivity. These, together with the examination of China’s BRI projects in other Asian countries as modes of comparison, are crucial in assessing probable outcomes in the Philippines. The paper includes policy recommendations based on possible pitfalls and risks that may hamper the advancement of the Belt and Road projects in the Philippines and Sino‐Philippine bilateral interaction.

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