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Duterte and generals split on China rapprochement

High stakes internal battle under way over direction of Philippine foreign policy

| Philippines

Analysis of Philippine foreign policy, especially in recent months, has largely revolved around the bigger-than-life persona of President Rodrigo Duterte. Since his accession to power nine months ago, the firebrand Filipino president, once dubbed the "Trump of the East," has consistently defied conventional wisdom, shaking up the Philippine political system as never before.

Promising an "independent" foreign policy, which "will not be dependent on the United States," Duterte has overseen a perceptible downgrading of bilateral military cooperation with the Philippines' sole treaty ally. In response to American criticisms of his human rights record, Duterte has not shied away from cursing top leaders in Washington, including former President Barack Obama.

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