“The Philippines seeks large-scale Chinese investments or aid in infrastructure projects and guarantees that Chinese vessels will not infringe on its fishing and resource extraction operations in its Philippine waters,” said Jonathan Spangler, director of the South China Sea Think Tank in Taipei.

“Because of the power imbalance between the two countries, negotiations will mostly be on Beijing’s terms, so it can be expected that any relevant commitments will be vague enough to avoid damaging Chinese interests in the future,” he said.