Can Trump and Duterte discover a way forward on the South China Ocean? 10:32 PM ET Sun, 12 Nov 2017 | 02:33
As President Donald Trump seeks to strengthen the U.S.-Philippine alliance, his administration is getting into several controversial actions that risk inflaming Asia-Pacific tensions.
That’s, Washington has been helping Manila fund its deadly anti-narcotics plan and is seeking to maintain a military presence in the South China Sea to prevent Beijing from further territorial growth.
The Pentagon and the Philippine army are discussing the creation of U.S. facilities on Philippine airbases near disputed islands in the worldwide waterway, Richard Heydarian, author and political technology professor at Manila-centered De La Salle University, informed CNBC on Monday.
In the meantime, the U.S. State Department has also been providing the Philippine Medicine Enforcement Agency with financing for counter-narcotics procedures, Heydarian continued.
Both measures have emerged as highly good for Manila, which has contested Beijing’s historical claim to roughly 90 percent of the Southern China Sea and is drawing increased worldwide criticism because of its controversial drug war.
Trump, who actually met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, has taken techniques to reignite the 70 year-old bilateral marriage that cooled under former President Barack Obama’s administration.
But the White House’s actions risk stirring up problem: American activity in the South China Sea could trigger ire from Beijing, while funding for a drug war rife with allegations of extrajudicial killings may be seen as a signal of U.S. endorsement of individual rights violations.