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Waging rhetorical war

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By Donald Kirk

MANILA ― The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, has a lot in common with President Donald Trump. He upsets people with tough talk, flays his foes with harsh words, and is accused of numerous offenses against women, against the media, also against the U.S.

And he's been courting the leader of a country with which his predecessors in Malacanang, the historic Spanish-built presidential mansion and office complex, have not always been on good terms.

The object of Duterte's affections since his election three years ago has been China's President Xi Jinping, whom he has visited in China and then hosted at Malacanang last November. Both of them called that meeting a "milestone" in relations between the two countries but have yet to get down to serious business about China's claim to the entire South China Sea, including small islands occupied by Philippine forces.

Now, however, it's getting to be crunch time. The Philippines charges China with having sent military vessels around small southern Philippine islands, and Philippine leaders, but so far not Duterte, are saying enough is enough, we're not going to stand for that any more. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana charges Chinese vessels have been cruising around the southernmost........

© The Korea Times