Analysts said the Philippines’ temptation to cut a side deal with China could undercut US efforts to put pressure on Beijing to back off its more maximalist claim to 85 per cent of the South China Sea — the nine-dash line” — by using the tribunal’s decision to mobilise international public opinion.
According to Richard Heydarian, a political analyst at De La Salle University in Manila, the new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, “will surely look at ways to leverage the arbitration . . . to extract concessions from China”.
…Zhu Feng, director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea at Nanjing the University, said Beijing’s efforts to cut deals with neighbours on maritime claims is a longstanding policy which even has a name: roughly translated it is called “shelve disputes in favour of joint development”.
He pointed to a number of diplomatic successes — a compromise with Vietnam on maritime claims in Beibu Bay in 2000 and a joint marine seismic work agreement signed with Vietnam and the Philippines in 2005.
…A number of areas of co-operation have been floated in the Chinese media: joint development of oil and gas resources, shared access to the fishing waters and collaboration in research for restoration of coral reefs in the region.
That is from Charles Clover at the FT.