Philippines, tilting to China?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s considering buying weapons from Russia and China while also ending joint patrols with U.S. forces in the South China Sea. In a televised speech Tuesday before military officers in Manila, Duterte said that two countries — which he didn’t identify — had agreed to give the Philippines a 25-year soft loan to buy military equipment. Later, he said that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and “technical people” in the armed forces would visit China and Russia “and see what’s best.” While Duterte said he didn’t want to cut the “umbilical cord” with his allies, the remarks were the latest to signal a shift away from the Philippine-U.S. defence treaty in place since 1951. Since engaging in a public spat with U.S. President Barack Obama last week, Duterte has denounced American military killings during the early days of colonial rule and called for U.S. forces to leave the southern island of Mindanao.

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