Philippines' China gamble: From ardent critic to unlikely ally?

Richard Javad Heydarian | 20 de octubre de 2016

(CNN)Within a span of a few months, the Philippines has transformed from one of China's most ardent critics into one of its potential allies. "I'm going to China to make friends with them and also with Russia," Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines' firebrand leader, claimed recently. "I am ready to not really break ties [with America] but we will open alliances with China and . . . Medvedev [Russia]." Since his first day in office, Duterte has consistently touted his commitment to forging a more independent foreign policy, which, to him, means less dependence on America. Naturally, many are beginning to ask whether Duterte, a self-described 'socialist', will revamp the Philippines' foreign policy by shifting alliances towards China.First state visit to China Currently, the Philippines and China are negotiating a 25-year bilateral military agreement which allows Manila to purchase Chinese weapons. And unlike any of his predecessors, Duterte's first state visit will be to China. Without a doubt, China will be rolling out the red carpet, charming its Filipino guest with maximum hospitality and offering assistance and good will. During his stay in Beijing, Duterte is expected to discuss various measures to normalize bilateral relations, expand economic cooperation and explore a potential modus vivendi in the South China Sea.
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