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Duterte reaches moment of truth over China

Time to rethink pro-Beijing policy and boost diplomatic pressure, deterrence and US ties

| Philippines

Half way into his presidency, Rodrigo Duterte is confronting a rude awakening in the South China Sea. Over the past three months, an armada of Chinese paramilitary vessels has swarmed around the Philippine-occupied Thitu Island, marking a dramatic escalation in the two countries' maritime disputes.

In response, the Filipino president instructed his soldiers to "prepare for suicide missions," while his equally feisty foreign secretary Teddy Locsin declared he has "no fear of war" and warned of a Third World War if China annexed Philippine-claimed islands.

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