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Duterte in China: PH gained little from US alliance

/ 12:24 PM October 20, 2016
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (C) and Chinese President Xi Jinping review the guard of honors as they attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 20, 2016. Duterte said it was "time to say goodbye" to the US during a visit to China on October 19, as the combative leader reconfigures his country's diplomatic alliances / AFP PHOTO / POOL / THOMAS PETER

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (center) and Chinese President Xi Jinping review the guard of honors as they attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 20, 2016. Duterte said it was “time to say goodbye” to the US during a visit to China on October 19, as the combative leader reconfigures his country’s diplomatic alliances. AFP

BEIJING, China — President Rodrigo Duterte met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping Thursday, state media said, as the Philippine leader seeks closer ties with the Asian giant while blasting his US allies.

Duterte is in China for a four-day trip that is expected to confirm his tilt away from Washington and towards Beijing’s sphere of influence.

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The two leaders were to hold official talks and sign a “series of cooperation documents”, the official Xinhua news service reported.

READ: ‘Time to say goodbye,’ Duterte tells US during visit to China

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Duterte is hoping to take advantage of Beijing’s deep pockets to score a raft of trade and infrastructure deals.

His recent rhetoric blasting the US and President Barack Obama and promising to sideline a territorial dispute over the strategically vital South China Sea has been welcomed in Beijing.

During a speech addressing the Filipino community in Beijing Wednesday, the firebrand President said the Philippines had gained little from its long alliance with the US, its former colonial ruler.

“Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So time to say goodbye, my friend,” he said, as if addressing the US.

“Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So time to say goodbye, my friend,” he said, as if addressing the US.

China, he said earlier, was “good”. “It has never invaded a piece of my country all these generations.”

Foreign policy under Duterte has dramatically shifted from that pursued under predecessor Benigno Aquino, who took Beijing to an international tribunal over its extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea — where it has built artificial islands capable of hosting military facilities — and won a resounding victory.

Tensions have risen between the US and China over Washington’s so-called “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific, a move that Beijing says is intended to contain it.

The move infuriated Beijing. But Duterte, who took office in June shortly before the tribunal ruling, has made a point of not flaunting the outcome.

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He has also suspended joint US-Philippine patrols in the South China Sea, and has threatened an end to joint military exercises.

The South China Sea is of intense interest to Washington and it has repeatedly spoken out on the various territorial disputes between China and its neighbors over the strategically vital waters.

In 2012, China seized control of Scarborough Shoal, a fishing ground in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Tensions have risen between the US and China over Washington’s so-called “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific, a move that Beijing says is intended to contain it.

Duterte was scheduled to meet with Premier Li Keqiang later in the day. CBB/rga

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TAGS: Beijing, China, Features, Rodrigo Duterte, US, Xi Jinping
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