The Philippine Navy’s first missile-capable warship, BRP Jose Rizal, will arrive today from South Korea. The new multi-mission capable warship
The Philippine Navy’s first missile-capable warship, BRP Jose Rizal, will arrive today from South Korea.
The new multi-mission capable warship is the first step in the Philippine Navy’s strategic sail plan to build a strong and credible fleet. The Navy is seeking to acquire an additional warship by the end of the year. The Philippines seems to be adopting a more direct strategy to defend its territorial claims in the South China Sea against Chinese encroachment, but the strategies of other ASEAN claimants are mixed.
Vietnam’s pushback against China has been the strongest, and Hanoi has been trying to convince fellow ASEAN countries to adopt similar stances. Indonesia and Malaysia may have taken more strident positions, but in light of the current economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN countries other than Vietnam will be hesitant to risk economic ties by speaking against provocative Chinese maritime activity. This difference in preference for dealing with China, as well divergent national and geopolitical interests, will likely prevent the bloc’s ability to unite in defence against Chinese pressure. Expect Chinese manoeuvring to reach an irrevocable tipping point in the near future, which could severely alter the geopolitical status quo in the region.
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