Editor’s note: With the U.S. presidential elections just around the corner, the Philippine government must take a long hard look on how the outcome of the U.S. elections will affect the country’s claim on the West Philippine Sea; the author highlights what’s most likely in store for the country under a Clinton or a Trump administration vis-à-vis the claims on the West Philippine Sea, which does not necessarily reflect Kami.com.ph’s views.
It is without a doubt that the two contending parties – Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) has in his or her hands the direction of the U.S. in terms of its foreign policies especially those that concern China’s bullying in the Asia-Pacific region.
While the two candidates have expressed their support for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling, they have been known to have differing views on approaching treaties and the like.
When the PCA award was released, Clinton immediately issued a statement saying that the US has a “deep and abiding interest” in the disputed area. She mentioned that this area is critical to the economy and she emphasized the importance for claimants to abide by the ruling and to continue to pursue “peaceful, multilateral means” in resolving the issues involved.
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Trump also expressed his stand on the matter. He said that all parties must respect the decision of the tribunal and that parties must resolve matters peacefully.
The tenor of the statements of both candidates may be similar but their personalities and their history will reveal what the US stand on the issue will be once elections are over.
Hillary Clinton had always been considered as a hawk in the West Philippine Sea, ensuring that the freedom of navigation and all regional players comply with treaty obligations. Being a lawyer, she is adept with the intricacies of the UNCLOS and she is expected to support the law of the sea more than her predecessor ever did.
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Donald Trump, on the other hand, seems to be China’s favorite. Although initially he was branded as loud-mouthed by many Chinese, he won their favor when it became apparent that he would be Clinton’s rival for the presidency.
Being viewed as a businessman, the Chinese believes that they can make some deals with him, which most likely would include sovereignty issues on the West Philippine Sea.
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So for the Philippines, it is highly probable that Hillary Clinton will be the one who will continue the policies of the US in the Asia-Pacific region, and one who will most likely protect the country’s interests in terms of implementing the award of the PCA.
Disclaimer: This article originally appeared on www.philstar.com. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Kami.com.ph, its editors, or other contributors.