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International relations

US human rights bill risks pushing Duterte closer to China

New legislation in Congress aims to cut aid to Philippine security forces

President Duterte could seek even closer ties with Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, if the Philippine Human Rights Act was passed in the U.S.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- A new bill introduced in the U.S. Congress aims to suspend American aid to Philippine security forces unless Manila commits to human rights reforms.

The Philippine Human Rights Act, if passed, risks pushing the Philippines closer to China and potentially rupturing the alliance between the U.S. and its once colony. This relationship has so far stayed intact despite Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's courting of Beijing, his threats to suspend a key security pact with Washington, and his oversight of thousands of extrajudicial killings.

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