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International relations

Return of Philippine bells symbolizes Duterte's pivot back to US

American GIs took Balangiga war spoils more than a century ago

Philippine Air Force personnel unload the bells of Balangiga after their arrival at Villamor Air Base in Pasay, Metro Manila on Tuesday   © Reuters

MANILA -- Three bells taken as war spoils by U.S. troops more than a century ago will be rung in a Philippine church on Saturday, in a move that symbolizes President Rodrigo Duterte's diplomatic pivot back to the U.S. amid concern over China's growing regional power.

Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, handed over the Balangiga bells in Manila this week, 107 years after an incident during the Philippine-American war from 1899 to 1902 that triggered a massacre.

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