What happened to the billions China pledged the Philippines? Not what you think

Here’s a quiz. How often in these past weeks have you read about the duplicitous Chinese tricking other governments with false investment promises? Quite a lot, probably, given the volume of reportage on the supposed pullback of Chinese cash in the Philippines. These reports argue that China’s US$24 billion commitment to the Philippines, comprising US$15 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) and US$9 billion in aid, has barely materialised since an agreement in October 2016 in…