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‘The Chinese are coming’: US attempts to turn the Philippines against its Beijing ally

11 7 0

China is now the second-biggest defence spender in the world, losing out only to the US (who – by the way – is so far ahead of the game that it accounts for 36 percent of all global defence spending). The rise of Beijing – and Washington’s response to its ever-emerging preeminence – is putting traditional allies of both China and the United States in an increasingly interesting position.

One such ally is the Philippines. In October 2016, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte was so emboldened by his newfound anti-American stance that he even dared the CIA to try to have him removed from power (and ultimately assassinated).

“You want to oust me?” Duterte said at the time. “You want to use the CIA? Go ahead.”

At around the same time, his administration also made clear Duterte’s intentions to realign his country’s foreign policy away from a “shackling dependency” on the United States. In September of that same year, Duterte allegedly said that while he does “not want a rift with America,” all US forces in the southern region of the Philippines “have to go.”

He even went so far as to make such outlandish promises as the US-Filipino naval drills taking place in September 2016 would be the “last military exercise.” Not long after, he announced his separation from the US while declaring that it was China, the Philippines, and Russia against the world. He even agreed to set aside an international tribunal’s ruling in favour of the Philippines against China, in an apparent effort to keep Beijing onside.

Despite his best efforts – whether genuine or not – Duterte has not been able to contain Manila’s relationship with Washington, nor has he been able to cement a long-lasting and non-confrontational association with Beijing.

Last week, Duterte found himself openly questioning China’s claims to the South China Sea, stating “I love China, it has helped us a bit but it behoves upon us to ask, is it right........

© RT.com