Abstract

Abstract:

Philippines-China relations have experienced dramatic turns, from a "golden age" to "Asia's most toxic bilateral relationship," followed by a new "spring time," as described by the media. Why does the Philippines' China policy oscillate so much? This article looks at the role of the president in the Philippines' foreign policymaking by examining the country's China policy under the leadership of three Philippines' presidents: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III, and Rodrigo Duterte. The findings show that although individual presidents have opportunities to promote their own preferences in dealing with China, they are not free from constraints. Despite showing great oscillations in rhetoric, the actual policies undertaken by each administration have never completely shifted to one or another extreme of the Sino-American spectrum: balancing against China using the alliance with the United States, or bandwagoning with China at the cost of losing the alliance with the United States.

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