January 3, 2017

The Philippines - Closer to China and now to Russia

If China's progress in the South China Sea and with the Philippines is not enough Russia is also getting closer to the Philippines. This is partly marked by a major Russian ship visit to the Philippines currently occuring.

The Straits Times, 3 January 2017 reports that Admiral Tributs, Udaloy class ASW destroyer from Russia's Pacific Fleet, is visiting Manila Harbour for 5 days.

Admiral Tributs, Russian DDG No. 564. Admiral Tribut's obsolete nature is exemplified by its coffin launchers and its reliance on two large calibre cannon (not the modern one cannon) at the bow. Generally, the more large calibre cannon a ship has the older its design. America's mistake, USS Zumwalt, with two misconceived cannon at the bow, is an exception. 
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The visit comes during Philippine President Duterte's change of foreign and defence policy away from the US and towards China and (to some extent) Russia (on a commercial and strategic level).

In September 2016 Admiral Tributs participated in a Russian-Chinese naval exercise ("Joint Sea 2016") in the South China Sea.

"The Russians have offered to sell a submarine, [UAV] drones and sniper rifles to the Philippines, according to Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana."

Pete

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Root cause of the recent behavior of the Philippines is decline of USA which will promote multilateral defense cooperation among Japan and other countries.

Regards
S

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
What kind of Frigate, Corvette and SSK Submarine can the Philippines afford from Russia

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

The US decline relative to China has been very gradual while the Philippines policy in favour of China has been rapid.

I think its the attitude of Duterte is the main factor. He just seems anti-American. Given Duterte is willing to kill there are no disagreements from Filipino politicians or public demontrations against his pro-China shift.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky K.D Chaleunphone

I don't know if the Philippines will ever buy Frigates, Corvettes or Submarines from Russia.

1. Duterte has stated that his country does not need expensive weapns. Instead more small arms for counter-insurgency are needed.

2. Much of the Philippines money for weapons comes from US aid. The US requires (explicitly or implicitly) that this aid be used to purchase weapons from the US and especially not from China or Russia.

3. The Philippines doesn't want to sharply boost its defence spending. So any major military equipment will need to be provided by Russia and more likely China using soft loans or outright donations of equipment.

China might be willing to supply S20* submarines (with a P for Philippines = "S20P") at very low prices funded by soft loans.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_039A_submarine#Export_variant:_S20

Pete

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
So what can they afford from China these days.

Peter Coates said...

It depends Nicky depends.

Though China has a better chance than Russia, via a whole bag of more money, to buy off the Pilipino-Filos.

Anonymous said...

It depends on what President Xi wants. I recall a few instances where things that costs several hundreds millions dollars (easily a frigate or tow) were sold for $1, that is how China wiped out competitors.
KQN

Anonymous said...

Duterte showing up to visit the Russian Udaloy speaks volume where this country is heading.
But things are equally unraveling for the US up North in ROK. The shaky alliance between Japan and ROK is now wavering with the resurfacing of the war crime issue on comfort women. I wonder what is the role of China in this. ROK's youth are highly left leaning in my experiences dealing with them, they were marked by the years rising against their junta. THAAD deployment will likely end following the next Presidential election there as well.
How strong is the US-Japan alliance with Trump's latest attack on Toyota forcing Japan MITI to respond forcefully? Notwithstanding the attack on VW, a major export pillar for Germany just as Toyota is with Japan.
In the end what is the US strategy in Asia going forward?
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN

Thanks for the comments. I agree with most. Taking them in turn.

- yes I haven't noticed Duterte attempting to provide balance by visiting US ships that have visited Subic or Manila Bays. Or Duterte bothering to thank the US for the coastgauard ships the US has Given to the Phils.

- the prospect of any Trumpian brinkmanship against NK's sabre-rattling may worry Japan and ROK no end.

- I've heard Japan might need to pay more compensation to all 2 or 3 comfort women (or the ROK middle men who sold them ) who have not yet died of old age. Maybe China could assist in locating the 4th and 5th comfort women? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_women#Apologies_and_compensation

- the radicalisation of ROK students may owe something to ROK "riot police or troops" killing them outright eg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwangju_Uprising with 100s dead. This is in proportion to the radicalising "Kent State" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings#Victims leading to 4 student deaths.

- But yes Chinese and NK intelligence may find it fruitful to encourage the anti-BMD movements in the Japanese or ROK Left. Russia did it well with West European Greens (eg. Petra Kelly) Reds in the Cold War.

- interesting how Trump will reconcile free market money making by Wall Street with his tariff/interventionist policies for US companies and foreign government/companies. The US's TPP breaking may be keenly welcomed by China and other AIIB countries, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Infrastructure_Investment_Bank#Geopolitical_implication_in_Asia_and_beyond

Regards

Pete