The Taiwan conflict has brought the Philippines back onto the global political stage. Will the island state become the new geopolitical demarcation line in the showdown between China and the US under Marcos Jr?

Tensions in the South Pacific are bringing the Philippines back onto the big geopolitical stage. Elected to office in May 2022, the president and son of the former dictator has distanced himself from his predecessor Duterte’s China-friendly policies and signed an extended defence agreement with the US. The US has thus secured access to military bases in the Philippines and changed the map in the region. If the country entered into a war with China over Taiwan, the Philippines would become a frontline state due to its proximity to Taiwan, its strategic location in the South China Sea and its historical military partnership with the US. The fact that the island state is riven by major internal political tensions makes the situation even more fragile. The stress test the Philippines will have to pass in the coming months may also have global repercussions. Film-maker Carsten Stormer, who has lived in the Philippines for many years, follows developments in the country and examines its geopolitical role in these turbulent times until the US’s largest military exercise in the Philippines in May 2024. What do China and the US hope to achieve and which of the two superpowers will ultimately assert itself in this geopolitical struggle for the West Philippine Sea with its vital trade routes for Europe?