For a moment last week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seemed to have orchestrated one of the most dramatic geopolitical shifts in Asia since the end of the Cold War — abandoning the US, his country’s longtime ally, for rival China. Characteristically, he did so with zero subtlety. In responding, the US should avoid making the same mistake.
He remains the Philippines’ legitimately elected leader, and at least some of his supporters hold anti-American views — stemming in part from America’s history as a colonial overlord. Whatever Duterte meant — he now says he was talking only about striking a more independent line in foreign policy — there’s every reason to believe ties with the U.S. will cool in the near term. Meanwhile, China has promised Duterte billions in soft loans and potential infrastructure investments.
“Renewed ties between Manila and Beijing will bring a huge impact on many small businesses in the country, presidential consultant for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry” president George Barcelon said.
“Improved relations with China is expected to boost tourism in the Philippines,” said Concepcion and Barcelon, who were part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s delegation during his state visit in China.
Duterte is winding down a four-day state visit to China where $13 billion in trade deals are set to be signed as he repairs diplomatic ties that have been strained by disputes in the South China Sea.
“It’s very positive with all those deals coming in. I think the market will see a resurgence again. There will still be some volatility but it’s looking positive for the economy and the stocks,” BDO Capital President Eduardo Francisco told ANC’s “Market Edge with Cathy Yang.”
[WASHINGTON] “US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Philippines counterpart over the weekend, emphasising strong and stable ties between the allies after comments by the Philippines president raised questions about bilateral relations,” the State Department said on Monday.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said “Mr Kerry expressed concern about the tone of remarks by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has sharply criticised President Barack Obama and talked about a separation from the United States.”
Mr Kirby said the phone call on Sunday led Mr Kerry to feel the United States and the Philippines “can work through this”.
He said Washington has seen no practical action by Manila to move away from ties with the United States.
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