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President Rodrigo Duterte may not be a statesman by his own admission, but he’s a master strategist who has so far been playing his cards right in the area of international relations.

Political analysts Eduardo Araral and Richard Heydarian on Tuesday (Oct. 18) suggested that Duterte is using the Philippines’ relationship with US and China to maximize the gains he gets out of them.

In an opinion piece published on the South China Morning Post, the two political strategists said Duterte has been adversarial towards Washington because he wants the Western superpower to prove its sincerity in wanting to keep its long-time ally in Asia Pacific.

They said US can still remain in the President’s good graces if it does the following:

  • make tangible contributions in the administration’s war against drugs
  • be more sober in its criticism of Duterte on the issue of human rights
  • give Duterte the respect he deserves as head of state
  • provide the Philippines with aid commensurate to its position as a valuable ally in Asia
  • clarify the extent of the mutual defense treaty

 

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