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How will Duterte’s successor deal with China?



Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to the media in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, 2 October 2021 (Photo: Reuters/Lisa Marie David).

Author: Richard Javad Heydarian, Manila

Over the past five years, bilateral relations between China and the Philippines, a United States treaty ally, have undergone a tremendous transformation. In the words of a top Chinese diplomat, what we have witnessed, especially under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, is a ‘golden age’ in bilateral relations.

But in his twilight months in office ahead of the May 2022 presidential elections, the Filipino president — who is constitutionally confined to a single six-year term in office — has adopted a dramatically divergent tone on China.

During the recent China-ASEAN Summit, Duterte abhorred purported harassment of Philippine resupply missions in the South China Sea by Chinese vessels. Amid the latest flare up in maritime tensions over the Second Thomas Shoal, Duterte openly warned, ‘this does not speak well of the relations between our nations and our partnership’ and called on the Philippines to utilise legal tools to maintain peace in the South China Sea.

The abrupt shift in Duterte’s tone may appear to be driven by contingent elements, namely public pressure at home amid the standoff over the disputed shoal. It’s clear that Duterte and his successor will come under growing pressure from the public and the defence establishment to take a more robust stance on China.

Following weeks of rollercoaster political manoeuvres, the line-up of Duterte’s potential successors is now effectively finalised. By all indications, neither presidential daughter Sara Duterte or long-time presidential aide Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go will be in the contention for the presidency this time. That has left Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr as the clear frontrunner in the 2022 presidential elections.

Bongbong Marcos is the only popular candidate to have openly backed continuity in Philippine foreign policy towards China by emphasising the futility of confrontation and the value of robust economic cooperation with the Asian powerhouse.

His father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was one of the first leaders among top US allies in Asia to open communication channels and formalise bilateral relations with Maoist China in the mid-1970s. Anticipating warm ties under a Marcos Jr presidency, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian has openly fawned over the current frontrunner.

Philippine Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo, the de-facto leader of the opposition, who has mostly ranked second in key surveys, has indicated a more radical departure from Duterte’s policy. She is emphasising robust defence relations with traditional Western allies and promoting the 2016 arbitral tribunal award at The Hague, which Beijing has rejected, as the ultimate basis for management of disputes with China in the South China Sea. As for boxer-turned-politician Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao, the former Duterte ally has also adopted a far tougher stance on China and even gone so far as accusing Duterte of soft-pedalling on maritime disputes.

But to best understand the likely direction of Philippine policy, one should look at the position of more ‘centrist’ candidates, who are consciously tweaking their foreign policy messaging based on public opinion and the sentiments of the defence establishment.

Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko’ Moreno, who is placed third in most surveys, has advocated for a ‘middle course’ on practically every major issue, including the South China Sea disputes. In recent months, he has both emphasised the value of engagement with China and strengthening the Philippines’ defensive capabilities.

Moreno has backed potential joint energy exploration agreements in the South China Sea to de-escalate tensions and foster a cooperative relationship with China. At the same time, he has supported revitalised military ties with Washington, while warning of a swift and decisive response against any Chinese harassment of Filipino fishermen and vessels in the disputed areas.

The wisdom behind the foreign policy posturing of top centrist candidates such as Moreno, who is trying to win supporters from across the political spectrum, is based on the ebbs and flows of broader public opinion. The United States enjoys high favourability ratings among Filipinos, often among the highest in the world, while China has historically suffered from very low trust ratings.

According to the Social Weather Stations polling agency, China’s net trust rating among Filipinos was only positive in nine out of 53 surveys conducted between 1994 and 2020. In 2020,…

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China Unveils Plan to Upgrade Industrial Equipment



China unveiled a comprehensive action plan for upgrading industrial equipment, with a focus on driving technological innovation and economic growth. The plan, released on April 9, 2024, aims to enhance competitiveness and sustainability within the manufacturing sector through extensive investment and regulatory support.

China announced an ambitious action plan for industrial equipment upgrading, which aims to drive technological innovation and economic growth through extensive investment and regulatory support.

On April 9, 2024, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and six other departments jointly released a notice introducing the Implementation Plan for Promoting Equipment Renewal in the Industrial Sector (hereafter referred to as the “action plan”).

Finalized earlier on March 23, 2024, this comprehensive action plan addresses critical issues related to technological innovation and economic development. It reflects China’s proactive stance in enhancing competitiveness and sustainability within its manufacturing sector. The initiative underscores the recognition of industrial equipment upgrading as a top policy priority.

The scope of China’s action plan to upgrade industrial equipment in manufacturing, is extensive, covering various aspects such as:

In line with China’s ambitious goals for industrial modernization and sustainable development, the action plan outlines several key objectives aimed at driving substantial advancements in the industrial sector by 2027.

These objectives encompass a wide range of areas, from increasing investment to enhancing digitalization and promoting innovation, including:

The objectives and key actions proposed in the action plan are summarized below.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

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China deepens engagement with new Indonesian president as top diplomat visits Jakarta



China’s top diplomat met the outgoing Indonesian president and his successor in Jakarta on Thursday, as Beijing deepened its engagement with future leader Prabowo Subianto, amid a competition for regional influence with the United States.

The meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was part of a joint commitment to advance the partnership between the two countries, said Prabowo, who visited Beijing in early April after his landslide win in the February general election.

“It is a great honor for me to welcome him [Wang] today. Thank you for the kind reception I received in Beijing a few weeks ago,” Prabowo said, according to an Indonesian defense ministry statement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had invited Prabowo to visit, and the latter accepting the invitation raised eyebrows in Indonesia because no president-elect had made a foreign visit such as this one without being sworn in. China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner.

Wang, too, mentioned Prabowo’s Beijing trip, according to the same statement.

“We really appreciate and welcome Defense Minister Prabowo’s visit to China,” he said.

“We are committed to continuing to increase bilateral cooperation with Indonesia, both in the defense sector and other fields such as economic, social and cultural.”

Wang is scheduled to go to East Nusa Tenggara province on Friday to attend the China-Indonesia High-Level Dialogue Cooperation Mechanism, a process to support more effective bilateral cooperation. His Jakarta stop was the first of a six-day tour that also includes Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi attend a press conference after their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, April 18, 2024. (Eko Siswono Toyudho/ BenarNews)

Prabowo and Wang discussed cooperation in the defense industry and sector, with potential measures such as educational and training collaboration, as well as joint exercises, said Brig. Gen. Edwin Adrian Sumantha, spokesman at the Indonesian defense ministry.

In fact, the ministry statement said that “China is Indonesia’s close partner and has had close bilateral relations, especially in the defense sector, for a long time.”

Of course, China has also invested billions of U.S. dollars in infrastructure projects in Indonesia, including as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative – the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train, which began commercial operations in October 2023, is one such BRI project.

The two countries have drawn closer during outgoing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s two terms, and Beijing would like that to continue as the U.S. tries to catch up with China’s gargantuan influence in Southeast Asia, analysts have said.

Indonesia, China call for ceasefire in Gaza

Both Indonesia and China shared the same position on Israel’s devastating attacks on Gaza, said Wang’s Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi.

Israel’s air and ground strikes have killed more than 33,000 Palestinians following the Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish state by Palestinian militant group Hamas, which killed around 1,100 Israelis.

“We … have the same view regarding the importance of a ceasefire in Gaza and resolving the Palestinian problem fairly through two state solutions,” Retno told reporters in a joint press conference after meeting with Wang. 

“Indonesia will support full Palestinian membership in the U.N. Middle East stability will not be realized without resolving the Palestinian issue.”

For his part, Wang slammed Washington for repeatedly vetoing resolutions calling for Israel to end the attacks on the Palestinian territory it occupies.

“The conflict in Gaza has lasted for half a year and caused a rare humanitarian tragedy in the 21st century,” Wang told the media at the same press conference, according to the Associated Press.

“The United Nations Security Council responded to the call of the international community and continued to review the resolution draft on the cease-fire in Gaza, but it was repeatedly vetoed by the United States.”

The conflict in the Middle East offered a strategic opportunity for China to further expand its influence in Southeast Asia, said Muhamad Arif, a lecturer in international relations at the University of Indonesia.

“China is trying to strengthen its position as a key player in the region,” Arief told BenarNews.

China could present an alternative approach to the conflict in Gaza, he said, which may find approval in Southeast Asia’s largest country, Indonesia, and other Mulism-majority states in the region, such as Malaysia and Brunei.

BenarNews is an RFA-affiliated online news organization.

Read the rest of this article here >>> China deepens engagement with new Indonesian president as top diplomat visits Jakarta

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New Publication: A Guide for Foreign Investors on Navigating China’s New Company Law



The sixth revision of China’s Company Law is the most extensive amendment in history, impacting foreign invested enterprises with stricter rules on capital injection and corporate governance. Most FIEs must align with the New Company Law by July 1, 2024, with a deadline of December 31, 2024 for adjustments. Contact Dezan Shira & Associates for assistance.

The sixth revision of China’s Company Law represents the most extensive amendment in its history. From stricter capital injection rules to enhanced corporate governance, the changes introduced in the New Company Law have far-reaching implications for businesses, including foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) operating in or entering the China market.

Since January 1, 2020, the Company Law has governed both wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOEs) and joint ventures (JVs), following the enactment of the Foreign Investment Law (FIL). Most FIEs must align with the provisions of the New Company Law from July 1, 2024, while those established before January 1, 2020 have bit more time for adjustments due to the five-year grace period provided by the FIL. The final deadline for their alignment is December 31, 2024.

In this publication, we guide foreign investors through the implications of the New Company Law for existing and new FIEs and relevant stakeholders. We begin with an overview of the revision’s background and objectives, followed by a summary of key changes. Our in-depth analysis, from a foreign stakeholder perspective, illuminates the practical implications. Lastly, we explore tax impacts alongside the revisions, demonstrating how the New Company Law may shape future business transactions and arrangements.

If you or your company require assistance with Company Law adjustments in China, please do not hesitate to contact Dezan Shira & Associates. For more information, feel free to reach us via email at


This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

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