Responses Against China’s Coercion in the Indo-Pacific: Developing a Toolkit from the Philippines and Taiwan

April 2024 No Comments

Speakers: Thomas J. Shattuck (Perry World House) & Robin Michael U. Garcia (Perry World House, WR Advisory Group)

Date: 24 April 2024

Speaker Session Summary

China has escalated its aggressive and coercive tactics against smaller and less powerful states as part of its objective to become a regional hegemony. Major targets of Chinese aggression since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012 include Taiwan and the Philippines. While both countries face similar forms of Chinese aggression, the tactics employed by China in each case exhibit unique characteristics. Mr. Shattuck delineated the forms of Chinese aggression and Taiwanese responses, while Mr. Garcia provided insights into the Philippines’ experiences. 

China’s strategies range from airspace violations in Taiwan to near-collisions of Chinese vessels with Philippine ships. The responses from Taiwan and the Philippines do vary, but still exhibit similarities at times. Both countries utilize communication and information dissemination to highlight and, at times, sensationalize China’s aggressive actions. Notably, Philippine ship captains have invited foreign news reporters onto their vessels to document and broadcast near collisions with Chinese ships. 

Mr. Shattuck and Mr. Garcia categorized Taiwan and Philippine responses along four main dimensions: rhetoric and media, diplomacy and legal avenues, engagement with allies and partners, and military and law enforcement. The presenters concluded their analysis by offering several policy recommendations for countries targeted by China. These recommendations include leveraging mass media to swiftly internationalize issues, involving high-level politicians and government officials in responses, and resorting to direct confrontation in ‘suitable terms’ when necessary. These strategies aim to effectively counter Chinese aggression and safeguard the interests of targeted nations. 

To read more of the presenters’ findings, then please view their report, “Responses Against China’s Coercion in the Indo-Pacific: Developing a Toolkit from the Philippines and Taiwan.” 

Speaker Session Recording

Briefing Materials


Thomas J. Shattuck is a Senior Program Manager at Perry World House. His research focuses on cross-Strait relations, Taiwanese and Chinese domestic and foreign affairs, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, and the US role in the Indo-Pacific. Shattuck is a Non-Resident Research Fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute, Non-Resident Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, member of Foreign Policy for America’s NextGen Foreign Policy Initiative, and the Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Program, where he participated in the 2022 US-Philippines Next-Generation Leaders in Security Initiative.

Robin Michael U. Garcia, a 2023-24 Visiting Scholar at Perry World House, is a political scientist and public affairs adviser. He is the president and chief executive officer of WR Advisory Group, a public affairs firm specializing in data, strategy, and communications. He is also the founder and chairman of its opinion research subsidiary, WR Numero Research. Garcia is an assistant professor in the political economy program at the University of Asia & the Pacific in Manila, Philippines. He serves on a 24-person policy research group convened by Speaker Martin Romualdez at the House of Representatives of the Philippines.


Submit A Comment