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Duterte Wants to Pivot to China—but the Law May Prevent This

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Under President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines continues its pivot to China in earnest. In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24 , the firebrand Filipino leader lashed out yet again at Western countries, namely the European Union and the United States, for criticizing his controversial war on drugs, which has been condemned by human rights groups at home and around the world.

Conspicuous in his two hours long address, however, was almost the total absence of any substantive discussion of the Philippines’ ongoing territorial disputes with China. Duterte only made a perfunctory remark on the South China Sea spats, underlining the importance of dialogue and peaceful negotiations among claimant states. To the delight of the Chinese representatives in the audience, he broadly painted the Asian juggernaut as a generous partner for........

© The National Interest