“It is likely that the regional grouping (of Southeast Asian countries) will maintain a cautious approach in its relations with China and that any statements or agreements will be watered down so as to avoid upsetting Beijing,” said Jonathan Spangler, director of the South China Sea Think Tank in Taipei.

“Chinese policymakers know that now is as good a time as any to push forward with securitization of their maritime territorial claims,” he said.

https://www.voanews.com/a/chinese-charm-in-southeast-asia-shows-signs-of-chafing/3940758.html

From interview transcript:

“With President Duterte’s inauguration just prior to the arbitral award of July 2016, there was an abrupt change of direction in Sino–Philippine relations. As former President Aquino III’s confrontational approach was replaced by a more conciliatory posture under Duterte, the Philippine ‘victory’ in the arbitration case was cast aside by the new administration in favor of extracting economic benefits from Beijing.”

“Especially with the Philippines as ASEAN chair for 2017, it is likely that the regional grouping will maintain a cautious approach in its relations with China and that any statements or agreements will be watered down so as to avoid upsetting Beijing. Chinese policymakers know that now is as good a time as any to push forward with securitization of their maritime territorial claims.”