Will Duterte end the Philippines-U.S. alliance?

President Rodrigo Duterte poses for a photo with Philippine military leaders
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has snubbed Washington, while actively courting Beijing and Moscow (source: dpa)
  • President Duterte has called for distancing the Philippines from the U.S.
  • The country is still very dependent on the U.S. for its security
  • Changing Manila’s alignment require it to find a new protector
  • A closer partnership with Beijing is possible, but unlikely for a host of reasons

New Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has garnered sensational headlines over the past several months. This has mostly been due to his undiplomatic language. More importantly, he has made statements that indicate a potential change in his country’s geopolitical alignment. Mr. Duterte has called for a halt to joint U.S.-Philippine patrols in the South China Sea, cancellation of joint military exercises, the removal of U.S. counterinsurgency forces and an end to orders of U.S. military equipment. He has also talked about new “alliances” with China and Russia. Notably, he has discussed the desirability of buying their military hardware.

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