The Philippines is beginning to pay the price for President Rodrigo Duterte’s South China Sea policy flip-flops in the form of repeated challenges to the country’s sovereignty by Beijing. China considers the South China Sea its own sea, all of it. And it seems to be prepared to do whatever it takes to assert control over every tiny island, natural and artificial, in it -- as evidenced by the presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels near a Philippines-administered island in the South China Sea in recent weeks.
That’s certainly bad news for neighboring countries -- like the Philippines -- which have competing claims in these territories. And bad news for the future of the economic integration of the region, as it raises geopolitical risks that could eventually turn away foreign investments.