Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

China and the Philippines Navigate Tricky Mix of Warm Economic Ties and Icy Politics

Photos taken by the Philippines Coast Guard of a recent confrontation with the China Coast Guard in the South China Sea. Images via the Philippine Coast Guard.

While the dispute between China and the Philippines around territorial claims in the South China Sea keeps escalating, economic relations between the two are “business as usual.” However, the growing disagreement could cause economic complications for Manila.

The current fight centers around a WWII-era warship, the BRP Sierra Madre, currently grounded on the Second Thomas Shoal. The Philippines is using the ship as a de facto military base to project its claim in the region. Chinese coast guard vessels are accused of using a water cannon to disrupt a resupply mission to the wreck.

  • Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
  • Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
  • Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.