Power Play

Taiwan war: No easy choices for the Philippines

Should the United States and China come to blows over Taiwan, geography alone puts the Philippines in a highly vulnerable position.

A Philippine fisherman watching a China Coast Guard vessel patrol the disputed Scarborough Shoal in 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Among nations in South-east Asia, the Philippines has the most to lose if China ever decides to pull the trigger and invade Taiwan.

By proximity alone, the country will feel the effects of the conflict almost immediately. Its northernmost island - Mavulis, basically uninhabited but with a squad of soldiers guarding a small shelter with a lighthouse, flagpole and desalination plant - is just 140km from Taiwan's southernmost tip.

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