Philippines’ Exit from China’s Belt and Road Initiative Stirs Controversy

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philippines' exit from china's belt and road initiative stirs controversy

Last updated on November 6th, 2023 at 02:47 pm

In a shocking turn of events, the Philippines has opted to step away from China’s sprawling Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), sending ripples through the global landscape. The repercussions of this unexpected exit are profound, casting doubt on the future of Chinese investments within the nation and amplifying geopolitical intricacies.

Philippines Exits—Here’s Why

The unforeseen move comes on the heels of the recent Belt and Road Forum presided over by Chinese President Xi Jinping. At this gathering, attempts were made to resuscitate the flagging infrastructure blueprint, which has struggled to gain traction over the past few years.

The Philippine Department of Transportation’s proclamation of “full termination” for various major infrastructure collaborations with China stands out as a landmark decision. Instead, the Philippines is set to forge new alliances with Japanese and other Western counterparts, setting a perplexing stage for the future.

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This sudden pivot in the Philippines’ approach is rooted in a blend of economic and political considerations, unveiling an intricate story. 

A central point of contention is China’s alleged intimidation of Philippine patrols and resupply missions around the Second Thomas Shoal.

This particular area holds immense strategic significance as it houses grounded Philippine troops on a ship, amplifying the underlying tension. As these disputes reached a tipping point, the Philippines made a groundbreaking announcement, cancelling Chinese-infused infrastructure projects worth a staggering $4.9 billion.

Among the casualties of this decision are two pivotal railway projects in Luzon and another on the home island of former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Mindanao, adding yet another layer of complexity to this intricate geopolitical puzzle.

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