With a complex history marked by successive waves of migration and periods of colonisation and occupation, the Philippines is home to a host of ethnicities and languages across its roughly 1000 inhabited islands. It is the 12th-most populous country in the world, with a population expected to reach 99.43m by 2014, according to the IMF. The Philippines has plentiful natural resources. An estimated 30% of its total land area is believed to contain metallic mineral deposits, including nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, and copper, largely as a result of its volcanic history. Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the central Philippines in early November 2013, caused extensive damage and left 5000 people dead and 4.2m displaced. The challenges thus remain significant, although the country is now experiencing a renewed optimism and greater stability than it has seen for many years.
This chapter contains interviews with President Benigno Aquino III; Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General, ASEAN; Hugo Swire MP, UK Minister of State for the Foreign Office; and Bui Quang Vinh, Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment.