Exclusive interview for subscribers and members: An old friend from Beijing returned to China this week in a move that harks back to a time when Manila had a much more tense relationship with Washington. Former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his pro-China policies as well as his concern that his country could become a “graveyard” if it becomes entangled in US-China tensions, held a surprise meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday. The move prompted current Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to express hope that Duterte would address controversial Chinese moves in the South China Sea, though he, too, welcomed increased communications between the two countries.
“It is a very complex geopolitical reality and we are in a very strategic geographical location,” said the Philippine ambassador to China, North Korea and Mongolia, Jaime FlorCruz. The encrypted summary in an exclusive interview just before Duterte’s visit. “We just hope that we are not forced to choose sides between the two superpowers in our region.”
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