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Philippines-China -- after the rainbow, more rain

Despite Xi's visit and repeated Chinese aid pledges, ties remain uncertain amid a domestic backlash

| Philippines
Perhaps China's President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte don't really have too much to toast.   © Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent trip to the Philippines should have left his hosts basking in the glow of reflected glory, the warmth of friendship and the satisfaction of opening up some big economic presents.

But the Chinese leader's Nov. 20-21 visit produced no such sentiments. Despite the heady announcement of turning bilateral ties into "strategic partnership," there was no progress on the key difficulties dividing Manila and Beijing, headed by the maritime disputes and a growing backlog in China's ambitious economic support pledges.

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