Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

In her recently published book chapter, “Discourse, Empirics, and Perceptions on Investment and Aid: Reconsidering Chinese and Japanese Relations with the Philippines,” Professor Tina S. Clemente of the UP Asian Center studied the economic relationship of both Japan and China with the Philippines. The chapter was published in March 2022 in Japan and Asia: Business, Political and Cultural Interactions by Springer. 


When President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines assumed office in 2016, his trips to China and their resulting bilateral economic agreements attracted significant attention. To many observers, these reflected a pivot toward China. However, Duterte also traveled to Japan, with bilateral talks resulting in economic agreements as well. The respective state visits of Shinzo Abe and Xi Jinping to the Philippines in 2017 and 2018 further hint at what appears to be a strategic repositioning of these countries with both each other and the Philippines.
The focus of the chapter is the investment and aid dimensions of these economic agreements. How does China’s development partnership with the Philippines in terms of investment and aid compare to that of Japan? How do these countries’ relations with the Philippines contribute to the narratives on investment and aid? 
This study analyzes the economic relationship of these countries with the Philippines by considering empirical data on these indicators, the tenor of the discourse, and perceptions. The research is informed by the increasing entrenchment of China’s economic presence in both the Philippines and Southeast Asia amid Japan’s historically dominant role in the region through its postwar development initiatives.

About the Author

Dr. Tina S. Clemente is Professor at the UP Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman. She has Ph.D. in Economics from theUniversity of the Philippines Diliman, and handles several China courses at the UP Asian Center, which offers a China specialization as part of its MA in Asian Studies program. Her research interests also include Chinese in the Philippines, Philippine Economic History, and Development Studies.
Her recent publications include “Liminality in the China-Watching of Aileen San Pablo-Baviera” and several chapters or articles on China Studies in the Philippines, such as “A Glimpse of Agency and Structure in China Studies in the Philippines” and “Insights on China Studies as a Community of Practice.” In 2018, Dr. Clemente co-edited the volume, China Studies in the Philippines: Intellectual Paths and the Formation of a Field.
View her full profile

The Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The UP Asian Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. It also offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. As an area studies institution, the Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website.