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Opinion

Duterte's turn against China is tactical ploy, not genuine shift

Filipino leader wants to use South China Sea ruling against Beijing as leverage

| Philippines
Duterte will likely try to use the arbitration award to justify resource-sharing agreements with China.   © Reuters

Ahead of his visit to Beijing in late August, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte suggested a major foreign policy shift. The leader, who has assiduously pursued warmer ties with China, vowed to raise a 2016 U.N. tribunal ruling that rejected China's claims to historic rights in the South China Sea during his high-level meetings.

Interestingly, he made the announcement about the so-called "arbitral ruling" on August 6 before the influential Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a leading lobby for warmer Philippine-China relations.

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