Lucio Blanco Pitlo III

Lucio Blanco Pitlo III

Lucio Blanco Pitlo III is a research fellow at the Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, fellow at the University of the Philippines Korea Research Centre, lecturer at the Chinese Studies Programme at Ateneo de Manila University, and contributing editor (Reviews) for the Asian Politics & Policy Journal.

Latest from Lucio Blanco Pitlo III

Opinion | US, China, Asean: the three dilemmas facing the Philippines’ new leader

Balancing the Philippines’ security alliance with the US and trading relationship with China while trying to maintain Asean centrality will be no easy feat for whoever replaces Rodrigo Duterte as president, writes Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

Balancing the Philippines’ security alliance with the US and trading relationship with China while trying to maintain Asean centrality will be no easy feat for whoever replaces Rodrigo Duterte as president, writes Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

10 Jan 2022 - 12:00PM
Opinion | How China’s belt and road is connecting Southeast Asia, political wariness aside

The newly-opened Laos-China railway is just one page in Beijing’s growing portfolio of infrastructure projects in the region. Notwithstanding the challenges, China’s gambit is paying dividends in the form of contracts and clout.

The newly-opened Laos-China railway is just one page in Beijing’s growing portfolio of infrastructure projects in the region. Notwithstanding the challenges, China’s gambit is paying dividends in the form of contracts and clout.

4 Dec 2021 - 7:00PM
Opinion | Even before Aukus, Southeast Asian nations have been busy shoring up their maritime capabilities

Securing choke points and vital waterways has become more challenging as maritime spats between neighbours fester and great-power rivalry gathers force. Countries have embarked on multi-year modernisation programmes, acquiring new and refurbished ships and submarines.

Securing choke points and vital waterways has become more challenging as maritime spats between neighbours fester and great-power rivalry gathers force. Countries have embarked on multi-year modernisation programmes, acquiring new and refurbished ships and submarines.

1 Nov 2021 - 10:15AM
Opinion | Is the Philippines rethinking its initial Aukus support?

Manila is in a tight spot, balancing its treaty alliance with the US, Asean concerns about a regional arms race, and maintaining its relations with China.

Manila is in a tight spot, balancing its treaty alliance with the US, Asean concerns about a regional arms race, and maintaining its relations with China.

6 Oct 2021 - 1:30PM
Opinion | Why the Taliban’s return to power puts onus on Afghanistan’s neighbours to step up

The Afghanistan debacle presents an opportunity for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to play a constructive role in meeting the region’s burgeoning security challenge – if members can get beyond historical baggage and mistrust.

The Afghanistan debacle presents an opportunity for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to play a constructive role in meeting the region’s burgeoning security challenge – if members can get beyond historical baggage and mistrust.

26 Aug 2021 - 3:30AM
Opinion | Caught in US-China rivalry, Duterte keeps deft balance with eye on 2022 Philippine election

The Philippines president wants to project his balancing act as a demonstration of his independent foreign policy. Whether he endorses a successor or runs as vice-president next year, such a posture is vital in securing the country’s autonomy.

The Philippines president wants to project his balancing act as a demonstration of his independent foreign policy. Whether he endorses a successor or runs as vice-president next year, such a posture is vital in securing the country’s autonomy.

7 Aug 2021 - 3:01AM
Opinion | Why deferring a decision on US-Philippine VFA military pact is Duterte’s best bet

The Philippine leader’s six month reprieve for the Visiting Forces Agreement means he essentially passes the decision to the electorate and next president.

The Philippine leader’s six month reprieve for the Visiting Forces Agreement means he essentially passes the decision to the electorate and next president.

1 Jul 2021 - 12:00PM
Opinion | A critical juncture in the China-US contest in Southeast Asia

Celebrations for the Fourth of July in the US and the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary will intensify the clash of narratives among the competing powers seeking greater engagement in Southeast Asia.

Celebrations for the Fourth of July in the US and the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary will intensify the clash of narratives among the competing powers seeking greater engagement in Southeast Asia.

28 Jun 2021 - 9:15AM
Opinion | Can Philippine political coalition 1Sambayan best Duterte’s allies at next year’s presidential election?

The coalition of prominent Duterte critics has its work cut out to win the 2022 presidential election, but its China strategy could have big implications for regional stability if it does, says Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

The coalition of prominent Duterte critics has its work cut out to win the 2022 presidential election, but its China strategy could have big implications for regional stability if it does, says Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

8 Jun 2021 - 10:00AM
Opinion | US-China tensions put Philippines in a tight spot on renewing Visiting Forces Agreement

The strain on the Philippines from dealing with the two great powers jostling for influence in Southeast Asia is becoming apparent. Manila now faces questions over whether any concessions it gets from the US are worth the added risk should US-China conflict break out.

The strain on the Philippines from dealing with the two great powers jostling for influence in Southeast Asia is becoming apparent. Manila now faces questions over whether any concessions it gets from the US are worth the added risk should US-China conflict break out.

2 Jun 2021 - 4:39AM
Opinion | Myanmar coup: Asean leadership offers best chance to avert a refugee crisis

Many international actors are vying to play the role of peacemaker in Myanmar, but Asean is best suited to broker talks. The efforts of Indonesia and other members show genuine interest to stop growing instability from spilling across the region.

Many international actors are vying to play the role of peacemaker in Myanmar, but Asean is best suited to broker talks. The efforts of Indonesia and other members show genuine interest to stop growing instability from spilling across the region.

7 Apr 2021 - 1:18AM
Opinion | How the Philippines and US can save the Visiting Forces Agreement (and keep China at bay)

Although Rodrigo Duterte has railed against the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US, Washington can show its commitment to the pact through high-level talks.

Although Rodrigo Duterte has railed against the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US, Washington can show its commitment to the pact through high-level talks.

18 Feb 2021 - 12:38AM
Opinion | Biden’s US faces uphill battle winning back Asia’s hearts and minds – just look at the Philippines

While much of Asia, including the Philippines, would welcome the US reclaiming its global leadership role, regaining its position at the ‘head of the table’ is not going to be a cakewalk, says Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

While much of Asia, including the Philippines, would welcome the US reclaiming its global leadership role, regaining its position at the ‘head of the table’ is not going to be a cakewalk, says Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

29 Nov 2020 - 6:12PM
Opinion | Why the Philippines’ Sabah claim against Malaysia isn’t a land grab

Manila is right to claim ownership of Sabah, argues Lucio Blanco Pitlo III. Malaysia cannot buy off the Philippines into dropping its claim any more than it can rewrite history.

Manila is right to claim ownership of Sabah, argues Lucio Blanco Pitlo III. Malaysia cannot buy off the Philippines into dropping its claim any more than it can rewrite history.

18 Sep 2020 - 5:36PM
Opinion | Chinese firms sanctioned by US are deeply embedded in Asean projects

Washington may dangle inducements to get regional backing for the sanctions, fuelled by the companies’ actions in the South China Sea. But it shouldn’t force countries to make tough choices, given that firms such as CCCC are already part of the region’s Belt and Road Initiative projects.

Washington may dangle inducements to get regional backing for the sanctions, fuelled by the companies’ actions in the South China Sea. But it shouldn’t force countries to make tough choices, given that firms such as CCCC are already part of the region’s Belt and Road Initiative projects.

12 Nov 2020 - 6:40PM
Opinion | Will China revisit South China Sea policy as Washington reaches out to Asean?

The US has acknowledged the 2016 tribunal ruling as it boosts its efforts to counter China’s attempts to consolidate its hold over the disputed waters.

The US has acknowledged the 2016 tribunal ruling as it boosts its efforts to counter China’s attempts to consolidate its hold over the disputed waters.

12 Nov 2020 - 6:43PM
Opinion | The Philippines needs Duterte’s anti-terror bill, but addressing roots of extremism means going beyond its text

The country’s fight against armed insurgents has for decades cost lives, hamstrung development and diverted military resources, but the bill’s overreliance on draconian measures could backfire.

The country’s fight against armed insurgents has for decades cost lives, hamstrung development and diverted military resources, but the bill’s overreliance on draconian measures could backfire.

18 Jun 2020 - 3:52PM
Opinion | Philippines bolsters posture in South China Sea after navy ship docks at new Spratly Islands port

A Philippine naval ship recently docked at a new port in the Spratly Islands, showing Manila’s resolve to defend its interests even as its ties with Beijing improve.

A Philippine naval ship recently docked at a new port in the Spratly Islands, showing Manila’s resolve to defend its interests even as its ties with Beijing improve.

27 May 2020 - 11:15AM
Opinion | Are Beijing’s bold moves in the South China Sea mere opportunism amid Covid-19 or the new normal?

China’s renewed assertiveness may be driven by both domestic and external factors as Beijing seeks to bolster support at home for its tough security stance, while showing rival claimants and the US that maritime and sovereignty issues will not be sidelined amid the pandemic.

China’s renewed assertiveness may be driven by both domestic and external factors as Beijing seeks to bolster support at home for its tough security stance, while showing rival claimants and the US that maritime and sovereignty issues will not be sidelined amid the pandemic.

7 May 2020 - 9:38AM
Opinion | How the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a ‘less Chinese’ belt and road initiative

As China rises from the pandemic, it will seek to resume infrastructure projects, especially in Southeast Asia, albeit on a more subdued scale.

As China rises from the pandemic, it will seek to resume infrastructure projects, especially in Southeast Asia, albeit on a more subdued scale.

6 May 2020 - 8:39AM
Opinion | Coronavirus gives Vietnam, Cambodia a chance to boost ties with Washington and Beijing

Amid the pandemic, Phnom Penh and Hanoi have deepened allegiances that have a bearing on great power rivalry in Asia.

Amid the pandemic, Phnom Penh and Hanoi have deepened allegiances that have a bearing on great power rivalry in Asia.

16 Apr 2020 - 12:57PM
Opinion | Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam: which defence model will Philippines follow as US ties wither?

Withdrawing from its military alliance with Washington could now see Manila move closer to Beijing – but there are other options it might follow.

Withdrawing from its military alliance with Washington could now see Manila move closer to Beijing – but there are other options it might follow.

20 Feb 2020 - 3:03PM
On Reflection | The US once feared allies would drag it into a war with China. How ironic

Duterte’s threat to end the Philippines’ military agreement with Washington highlights the challenges of managing America’s alliances in the age of great power rivalry.

Duterte’s threat to end the Philippines’ military agreement with Washington highlights the challenges of managing America’s alliances in the age of great power rivalry.

28 Jan 2020 - 9:18PM
Opinion | Beijing and Manila need more than coastguard diplomacy to fix South China Sea problems

The first visit by a Chinese coastguard ship to Manila is a milestone moment. But if Beijing is serious about boosting cooperation, it must exercise greater restraint in the contested waters.

The first visit by a Chinese coastguard ship to Manila is a milestone moment. But if Beijing is serious about boosting cooperation, it must exercise greater restraint in the contested waters.

17 Feb 2020 - 4:14PM
Opinion | Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand: the new frontiers in US-China battle for influence

While Southeast Asia is a vital foothold for Washington, it must realise its regional partners are now sovereign actors with full agency and varied interests.

While Southeast Asia is a vital foothold for Washington, it must realise its regional partners are now sovereign actors with full agency and varied interests.

29 Nov 2019 - 7:37PM
Opinion | Why the Philippine-US Kamandag war games are a balancing act for Duterte

After his recent visits to China and Russia, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte must balance commitments to the United States – country’s traditional ally – without upsetting new partners.

After his recent visits to China and Russia, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte must balance commitments to the United States – country’s traditional ally – without upsetting new partners.

16 Oct 2019 - 4:34PM
Eye on Asia | Manila must play its cards right with Chinese offshore gambling, given Beijing’s warnings

The spike in Chinese offshore gambling operators has brought jobs and revenue but also problems. Manila must work with Beijing to crack down on human trafficking, fraud and illegal operators. Operators should also be encouraged to diversify investments in the Philippines.

The spike in Chinese offshore gambling operators has brought jobs and revenue but also problems. Manila must work with Beijing to crack down on human trafficking, fraud and illegal operators. Operators should also be encouraged to diversify investments in the Philippines.

9 Sep 2019 - 12:02PM
Asian Angle | Could Duterte’s cooperation with Beijing help Manila realise its South China Sea arbitral victory?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Beijing later this month and resource cooperation might help the Philippines in its bid to get China to comply with the 2016 arbitral ruling, writes Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Beijing later this month and resource cooperation might help the Philippines in its bid to get China to comply with the 2016 arbitral ruling, writes Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

15 Aug 2019 - 8:15AM
Opinion | How China can soothe anger in the Philippines over the sinking of a fishing boat in the South China Sea

An apology from the captain of the Chinese vessel, punishment for those found to be negligent and compensation for the Filipino fishermen would ease tensions. Meanwhile, the incident is a reminder of the need to conclude a regional maritime code of conduct.

An apology from the captain of the Chinese vessel, punishment for those found to be negligent and compensation for the Filipino fishermen would ease tensions. Meanwhile, the incident is a reminder of the need to conclude a regional maritime code of conduct.

25 Jun 2019 - 7:12PM
Opinion | As US-China great power rivalry intensifies, smaller states in Southeast Asia seek a way to thrive, not just survive

From trade to the South China Sea and technology, the US and China increasingly find themselves at odds, with regional countries caught in the middle. Many smaller players are now realising the importance of staying friendly with both but beholden to neither.

From trade to the South China Sea and technology, the US and China increasingly find themselves at odds, with regional countries caught in the middle. Many smaller players are now realising the importance of staying friendly with both but beholden to neither.

10 Jun 2019 - 7:22AM