Duterte Shifting Away from US to 'Normalize' Relations with China

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The Philippines is shifting away from the United States in an attempt to ‘normalize’ its relationship with Beijing, the new Philippine envoy to China said on Monday, January 2.

“We were one-sidedly imbalanced in favor of the US,” the Philippines’ new ambassador to China, Jose “Chito” Sta. Romana, told Agence France-Presse.

For decades, the Philippines has been an ally of the U.S. but the relationship between the two countries has been put into question since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office last June.

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China's President Xi Jinping welcomed his Filipino counterpart Rodrigo Duterte on a recent visit to Beijing.

Duterte has been constantly threatening to end the Philippines’ military and economic ties with the U.S. for the latter’s supposed ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘bullying’ of smaller nations, and also for its criticisms against the Philippine government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“The problem came after they began lecturing him. The president (Duterte) considers it an internal affair,” Sta. Romana said.

He then added, “The Chinese don’t comment on your internal affairs.”

Sta. Romana also described the Philippines’ shift to China as “a strategic shift in our foreign policy.”
He, however, clarified, that the Philippines is not abandoning its decades-long alliance with the U.S.
“We are basically trying to normalize our relations with China,” the envoy explained.

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