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WPS economic sanctions to hurt PH, but China even more


—The shift in policy on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) from Rodrigo Duterte’s appeasement to Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s assertiveness has raised fears, baseless or not, over the row’s impact on China’s investments in and trade with the Philippines.
Here’s why.
According to a report by the Research and Special Studies Division of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), “research focusing on the People’s Republic of China and its use of economic statecraft, including economic coercion, has started to emerge in recent years.”
“With its increasing economic clout, being the second largest economy in the world, the world’s largest trading state, and the world’s largest holder of foreign currency reserves, it is therefore unsurprising that China is using its newfound economic power as leverage in dealing with other states,” it read.
As cited in the article, Jonathan Kirshner, a professor of political science and international studies in the United States, explained that economic coercion, especially on trade, is highly likely. As the NDCP report said, the Philippines has experienced it already after the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal standoff between the Philippine and Chinese navies in 2012.
The report pointed out that China’s retaliation was to ban agricultural products, especially bananas, from the Philippines. Chinese citizens were discouraged, too, from visiting the Philippines because of “security concerns.”
This also was the point made by Collin Koh, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, in a column published by ISEAS-Yusof Ishok Institute.

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