Transforming the Philippine-U.S. Alliance into a Security Partnership?


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When: Aug 24 2020 - 9:00am until Aug 24 2020 - 10:00am
Where: Zoom Webinar

The East-West Center in Washington invites you to the
60 Minutes for the 60th Anniversary Alumni Seminar Series:

Transforming the Philippine-US Alliance into a Security Partnership?


Dr. Renato Cruz De Castro
(EWCW Fulbright Fellow, 2016)
Professor in the International Studies Department &  
Charles Lui Chi Keung Professorial Chair in China Studies,
De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines

H.E. Thomas C. Hubbard (Discussant)
Senior Director, Asia
McLarty Associates 

Dr.  Satu P. Limaye (Moderator)
Vice President, East-West Center &
Director, East-West Center in Washington

This presentation examined the prospect of transforming the Philippine-US alliance into a security partnership.  In the past, the Philippines doubted the US’sLeft to right: Dr. Renato Cruz De Castro and H.E. Thomas C. Hubbard often-repeated commitment to assist its ally because the 1951 Philippine-US  Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) merely stipulated consultation rather than an automatic armed response in the case of an armed conflict.  In mid-2011, the Aquino Administration asked for an unequivocal US guarantee to defend the Philippines and its naval/air units deployed in the Spratlys. The Duterte Administration, however, has expressed its uncertainty over America’s willingness to back the Philippines militarily in any confrontation with China over disputed maritime claims.  Early this year, President Duterte commented that an armed clash in the South China Sea would crush the Philippines because the involvement of American troops would make the conflict spiral out of control. This development, along with his decision to abrogate the 1997 Philippine-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), has generated a crisis in the alliance. To avert any crisis, the two allies can down grade their alliance into a security partnership.   In conclusion, the presentation argued that should the Philippines consider this option, it must take into account the following:  the consequence of losing the deterrence effect of the world’s most powerful armed forces; the impact on Philippine defense spending; effects on the ongoing AFP modernization program; and whether or not the Filipino nation will support this move. 

​To view the PowerPoint from today's presentation, click here

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the East-West Center and its mission to promote better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. The East-West Center in Washington (EWCW)’s 60 Minutes for the EWC 60th Anniversary Alumni Seminar Series  highlights the work of EWCW alumni/ae who have participated in our fellowship, publication, dialogue, and conference programs.


Renato Cruz De Castro is a professor in the International Studies Department, De La Salle University, Manila, and holds the Dr. Aurelio Calderon Chair in Philippines-American Relation. He was a visiting fellow in the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) of the Japanese Ministry of Defense in the summer of 2018.   He was based in Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) from June to August 2017 as a visiting researcher.   From September to December 2016, he was based in East-West Center in Washington D.C. as the US-ASEAN Fulbright Initiative Researcher from the Philippines.  He is an alumnus of the Daniel Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii.  In 2009, Dr. De Castro became the US State Department ASEAN Research Fellow from the Philippines and was based in the Political Science Department of Arizona State University.   Professor De Castro conducts several professional courses on International Relations, Strategic and Security Studies in the National Defense College (NDCP), General Staff College of the Philippines, and the Foreign Service Institute (FSI).  As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Albert Del Rosario Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ADRI), he writes monthly opinion columns for the Philippine Star and Business World.   He has written over 100 articles on international relations and security that have been published in a number of scholarly journals and edited works in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Malaysia, France, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. He earned his Ph.D. from the Government and International Studies Department of the University of South Carolina as a Fulbright Scholar in 2001, and obtained his B.A. and two master’s degrees from the University of the Philippines.

H.E. Thomas C. Hubbard is Senior Director of McLarty Associates’ Asia practice. A career foreign service officer for nearly forty years, he served as US Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2001 to 2004, and before that as Ambassador to the Philippines from 1996 to 2000. Earlier in his career, he served seven years in Japan and was Deputy Chief of Mission and acting Ambassador in Malaysia. He held key Washington postings, including Philippines Desk Officer, Country Director for Japan, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs. A fluent Japanese speaker, he devoted half his career to Japan-US relations. Increasingly involved in Korean Peninsular affairs in the 1990s, Ambassador Hubbard was a principal negotiator of the 1994 Agreed Framework aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and headed the first senior level US government delegation to North Korea. He was also President Clinton’s envoy to promote human rights and democracy in Burma. Ambassador Hubbard currently serves as the Chairman of The Korea Society in New York City and sits on numerous advisory boards. He received his BA in political science from the University of Alabama and has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Maryland and the University of Alabama.

Satu Limaye is Vice President of the East-West Center and the Director of the East-West Center in Washington where he created and now directs the Asia Matters for America initiative and is the founding editor of the Asia Pacific Bulletin. He is also a Senior Advisor at CNA Corp (Center for Naval Analyses) and Senior Fellow on Asia History and Policy at the Foreign Policy Institute at Paul H. Nitze School of International Studies (SAIS). He is magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and received his doctorate from Oxford University (Magdalen College) where he was a George C. Marshall Scholar. Recent publications include: “America’s ‘Pacific Principle’ in an Indivisible Pacific Islands Region,” (Asia-Pacific Bulletin); “Despite Stumbles, America’s Engagement with Southeast Runs Deep,” (Global Asia); Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh, and Brahmaputra Water Politics (Marine Corps University Press); and Russia’s Peripheral Relevance to US-Indo Pacific Relations (Center for the National Interest).

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