Video Transcript / Subtitles:
About AI Subtitles »
* AI ("Artificial Intelligence") subtitles on Tagalog.com are generated using "Whisper" by OpenAI (the same company that created ChatGPT and DallE2). Results and accuracy may vary.
* The subtitles do include errors occasionally and should only be used as a tool to help with your listening practice.
* You can request this website to create a transcript for a video if one doesn't already exist by clicking the "Request AI Subtitles" button below a video. Transcribing usually takes 30-40% of the length of a video to complete if there are no other videos in the queue
. For example, a 21 minute video will take 7-8 minutes to transcribe.
* Running a super fast cloud GPU server to do these transcriptions does cost money. If you have the desire and financial ability, consider becoming a patron
to support these video transcriptions, and the other tools and apps built by Tagalog.com
It's as big as it can get. This has been in the process for quite some time, in the pipeline for quite some time since last October.
There were expectations that the Philippines, after six years of Duterte presidency, a very pro-Beijing president,
someone who wanted to nix the Philippines' defense treaty with the United States.
There was a hope that after Duterte, not only will we restore bilateral relations, but we'll further expand it.
So under Marcos Jr., we may have a new golden era in bilateral relations with the United States.
In the same way that Duterte wanted to have a new golden era of bilateral relations with China.
Well, the U.S. already has access to five sites in the Philippines. What difference do these four
more make to Washington's ability to counter Chinese aggression in the South China Sea?
Well, speaking of the five pre-existing ones, two of them will be very much frontline when it comes
to the South China Sea disputes. So one is the Basa Air Base in Pampanga, which is close to the
Scarborough Shoal, where the Philippines and China had a naval standoff a decade ago.
And the other one, of course, is in Bautista Air Base in Palawan, which is very close to the
Spratly group of islands. The other ones are much more located close to the areas where we have
militant extremism in places like Mindanao, counter-terrorism, for instance. But the four
additional ones, there has been no disclosure of where they're going to be located. But our
suspicion is that they're going to be in the northernmost regions of the Philippines,
very close to Taiwan. How close they're going to be, that's still a question that we have to
resolve. Because the Fuga and Mavulis Islands, where we have naval bases, are just over 100
kilometers away from the southern shores of Taiwan. In short, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation
Agreement may give America presence, forward-deploying presence, not only close to the
South China Sea, where China's expansionism is a big issue, but also close to Taiwan, where there
is a fear that an invasion of Taiwan is impending in the coming years. So all of a sudden, the
Philippines is finding itself in the midst of this US-China rivalry, and very important to
America's plans to deter China's aggression in the Western Pacific and in the region.
So you've talked about what the US gets out of this, but what does the Philippines
get out of such an agreement?
Timing is essential. Just a few weeks ago, Marcus Jr. was on his first state visit,
and this was to China. In the visit, there was huge announcements of economic deals,
22 billion dollars, but there was absolutely no concession given by China on the South
China Sea dispute. So I think President Marcus Jr. came out of that meeting and said,
maybe on economic fronts, we can get something out of our relations with China, although not
much came out of the terrorist flirtation with China six years ago. But on the geopolitical
front, we didn't get much of a concession. So the hope by Marcus Jr. right now is, if the
Chinese are not going to budge, then we really need America's help. And remember, this is all
about deterrence. The Philippines' own ability to push back against China is very limited. So
I understand those people are critical of US presence in the Philippines, but they cannot
turn a blind eye to what China is doing to the Philippines. So as much as we want to be
self-reliant and independent in dealing with China, the reality is that asymmetry in power
is just far too much for the Philippines to handle on its own. Therefore, this is about
leveraging our alliance with the United States to push back against China as much as possible.
How pleased would Washington be about securing this deal, which would have been
much more difficult when Rodrigo Duterte was in charge?
Yeah, I mean, this is really ironic, right? I mean, it's happening under Marcus Jr.,
where everyone expected it to be a continuation of Duterte, meaning closer to China,
more hostile to the West. And this is also happening under a democratic administration
in the United States, Biden administration, who said democracy promotion will be front
and centre in foreign policy. But clearly, when it comes to America's policy towards the
Philippines, it has been realpolitik, it has been about China. And it is more or less about,
yes, we have concerns with the Marcus Jr., we have concerns with the Marcoses,
but our priority is China here. So Biden, President Biden personally has reached out,
has met on multiple occasions with Marcus Jr. They're expected to meet again in April this
year in the White House. So this is really about personal diplomacy. This is about realpolitik.
So the US is getting the most it can get. So ironically, Marcus Jr. is turning out as one
of the most important partners for the United States when it comes to its Indo-Pacific strategy.
But how will the deal impact the Philippines' relations with China?
How do you think Beijing's feeling about these developments?
Right, they're definitely in a bind right now, because on the surface, Marcus Jr. is saying
exactly the same thing that Duterte has been saying, which is, you know, we're not going to
allow our disputes to be front and centre in defining our relations. We want to be more
self-independent. We don't want to be relying on the West. We want diverse relations. You know,
Marcus Jr. is saying all the right things that China wants to hear. But when it comes to actions
of Marcus Jr., it's a completely different picture from what we saw under Duterte.
So the problem for China right now is this. If they push the envelope and become more aggressive,
the more Marcus Jr. will pivot towards the United States. But if they don't do also anything,
then what's their leverage to make Marcus much more friendly to China? So I think what we're
going to see in the coming months and weeks is indications by China that, you know, perhaps
they're going to say, we're not going to make big investments in the Philippines unless you
do something about what you're doing with the US. If you go too far into the US security embrace,
then we're not going to make those big investments. So this is where the ball is in China's court.
What are they going to offer Marcus Jr. to make sure Marcus Jr. doesn't go all the way into
America's strategic embrace and become a pivotal part of America's integrated deterrence strategy?
Just finally, what else was discussed during the meeting between the US Defence Secretary
and the Philippine President? And also, how has this all been received by Filipinos?
Yeah, of course, I mean, as far as majority of Filipinos are concerned, America is very
favourable, has very favourable ratings, 70-80% of Filipinos in all surveys. There's of course,
you know, a vocal minority who are against greater American presence,
for national independence concerns, and also those who want to have better relations with
China. But the reality is this, for six years Duterte flirted with China, right and left,
we really didn't get much out of it. $24 billion of investment, barely anything came out. In the
South China Sea, the situation got worse for the Philippines. So I think the majority of public
will support this. Now, it's not only the EDCA, the Philippines and US are going to have expanded
massive military exercises in the coming months. We're talking about 16,000 troops in Balikatan.
And not to mention, of course, Australia and Japan will be more and more present in these
joint exercises. So this is not only about US and the Philippines, this is also about Australia,
Japan and the alliance structure in this region. Indeed, it impacts everyone in the region.
Richard Haidarian, thank you so much for talking to us. Really appreciate it.