China & Philippines Are “Blood Brothers” – Bidding Goodbye, Duterte Says U.S. Has Lost





Oct 21 2016
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After losing the Syrian Civil War, it appears superpower United States has lost an important ally in Asia. Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, who is currently in China for a 4-day trip, declared his “separation” from longstanding ally the United States in Beijing on Thursday, as he rebalances his country’s diplomacy towards China.

 

Also known as the Philippines “Dirty Harry”, Duterte made his comments in Beijing – “In this venue, your honours, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States, both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost. Enough bullshit. How can you be the most powerful industrial country when you owe China and you are not paying it?”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Calls US President Barack Obama - Son of A Bitch

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Duterte, who has called U.S. President Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” and told him to “go to hell”, continues – “I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way. America does not control our lives.”

 

He may sound like sucking up to China but he has every reason to do so. Taking a totally opposite policy as compared to his predecessor Benigno Aquino’s, the new Philippines president didn’t use the victory at an international tribunal denying China’s claims over territory in South China Sea as bargaining chip during his meeting with President Xi Jinping.

South China Sea - China Nine Dash Line Territorial Disputes - Asian Claims - Map

Ever since an international tribunal ruled that China couldn’t claim historic rights in all the waters within a “nine-dash” line used by Beijing to delineate its South China Sea claims, nobody, including the U.S., dares to enforce the verdict. And since the Philippines can’t beat the China, it’s not hard to understand why President Duterte decides to join China instead.

 

Just like a poor family who needs to put food on the table more than protesting for human rights, Beijing has something – lots of them – that Washington couldn’t give to Manila – money. The meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping saw the signing of 13 bilateral cooperation documents on business, infrastructure, and agriculture, among other fields.

Rodrigo Duterte – New President of Philippine

Beijing also has offered the Philippines a US$9 billion (£7.3 billion; RM37.7 billion) soft loan for development projects, including $15 million (£12.2 million; RM63 million) for drug rehabilitation programmes despite Duterte’s anti-drug campaign which has killed more than 3,000 drug addicts and pushers. China will also lift bans on 27 Philippine tropical fruit export companies.

 

Baffled, Obama administration says they will seek an explanation from the Philippines. State Department spokesman John Kirby said – “We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from the U.S. It’s not clear to us exactly what that means in all its ramifications.”

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United States may see tighter immigration requirements, whereby Americans can enter the Philippines anytime without visas under the present special agreement between Washington and Manila. And if Duterte plans to go further, it would affect tax credits, military aid, American military bases, electronic industry and business process outsourcing.

 

After Duterte’s “goodbye” bidding to the U.S., Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that the Philippines and China are “blood brothers” and said that both countries can work together to handle common disputes amicably, suggesting that Beijing and Manila should talk about territorial disputes behind close door and not allows third party’s (United States) provocation and interference.

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Now that the Washington can no longer count Manila as a steadfast ally in Southeast Asia, essentially that could provide Beijing with leverage to expand its grip in the region. Neighboring Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia might need to go back to the board and rethink if they should adopt a softer approach like the Philippines over their respective territorial claims to the South China Sea.

 

Of course, Duterte could be screwing up with both China and the United States, playing both countries to get the best deal. And Beijing knew it but there’s no harm rolling red carpet and a special marching band to welcome him who brought along a strong 200 businessmen. China could surely use Duterte’s influence as the ASEAN’s chair next year to adopt a friendly policy towards Beijing.

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Even if Duterte was merely interested in getting free money from China, Beijing could easily justify the billions of dollars to be spent on Philippines in exchange for a dilution of U.S. influence in the region, not to mention the subsequent control over the country’s economy. Geopolitically, such “blood brothers” relationship is a win-win solution for both countries.

 

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