torsdag 18. april 2019

Has Duterte’s China pivot backfired?

During a trip to China in October 2016, which was depicted by some of his countrymen as a tributary mission by a Philippine sultan to a Chinese emperor rather than a state visit by a sovereign leader, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offered the “Middle Kingdom” two precious “gifts.” The first was his solemn announcement at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing that he would “separate” from America, his country’s only formal military ally, and to align himself with China’s “ideological flow,” on which he “will be dependent … for a long time.”

The second, and probably more valuable, “gift” was the maverick president’s willingness to play down the South China Sea arbitration case against China his country resoundingly won in July 2016 and to resolve the Philippines’ maritime disputes with the Asian behemoth through bilateral talks.