Reading the last 20 pages or so discussion, I am pretty sure the majority of forum members agree that having a neutral Philippines is of significant importance to an armed reunification with Taiwan. However, there were considerable concern, myself included, of ceding Scarborough Shoal to Philippines in return for Philippines ending VFA with the US.
An idea just popped into mind mind. What if China agrees to cede sovereignty of Scarborough Shoal to Philippines upon successful reunification (peaceful or otherwise) with Taiwan in return for Philippines' immediate termination of VFA. Meanwhile, China can throw in immediate join exploration for oil and sharing of profit thereof, and joint fishing rights etc.
Philippines will lose some of her strategic military significance to China once Taiwan is returned to the mainland. Also, by then, China will gain the use of Taiping Island (currently under Taiwan administration), thus offsetting the loss of Scarborough Shoal as a military base for China in SCS.
What is your opinion ?
Oh, I think it would be terrible negotiation tactic to start off with offering ceding Scarborough Shoal to Philippines in return for ending VFA. The purpose of ending VFA is to make it harder for US military to spy on China during peace time. I don't see Philippines would allow bases to be used by US during war. That would bring catastrophe to Philippines. There would be no way that US could defend those bases.
So, I think to start off, you negotiate joint exploration and you work together to keep out Taiwan/Vietnam from the area. Once you have that and build trust with Philippines foreign policy elites, then you can work toward something more substantive.
ceding claim of any disputed reefs/islands would only make sense if during these next 10 or 15 years as part of a larger security arrangement where Philippines can grant them access to a couple of air bases. Being able to fly fuel tankers/MPAs out of Philippines would give them persistent cover over Philippine sea and they would just be able to frequently have military exercises between Taiwan and Guam. Imagine a 004 with 40 J-35s/15 J-15s/6 KJ-600s/many drones/Z18/20s, 4 055s, 6 054Bs, 4 095s, a few diesel subs and AUVs conducting large scale exercise in that area east of Taiwan, southeast of Ryukus and west of Guam + supported by H20s/H6K/J20/J16D/MPAs. That would send quite the message to everyone in the region. And you might be able to pressure Taiwan to sign up to some type of 1 country/2 system without ever firing a shot. Imo, having a base in Philippines would just allow them to accomplish their strategic goals sooner.
I do not see Philippines willing to sign up to something like this, so the more realistic hope is for China to agree to joint exploration and trust building which leads to ending VFA.