Inside Story

Can China and the Philippines mend their strained ties?

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr is in China for his first overseas trip as leader.

The Philippines and China have had a strained relationship in recent years – the next stage of which both sides are looking to shape during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s visit to Beijing.

Manila has historically been a close ally of the United States, but that relationship cooled somewhat under last Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who forged closer ties with Beijing.

China is the country’s most important trading partner.

But they have significant differences, too – such as Beijing’s activities in the disputed South China Sea, which the Philippines has called illegal.

China for its part says the visit will focus on “regional and international issues of common concern”.

President Marcos says he’s looking forward to increasing economic cooperation.

So, what’s at stake for both countries from this visit?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


Andy Mok – Senior research fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, Beijing

Marites Vitug – Editor-at-large with the news website Rappler in Manila and author of Rock Solid: How the Philippines Won Its Maritime Case against China

Ei Sun Oh – Senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs