REALPOLITIK IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. The State Department is unhappy, but apparently Trump has his own opinion on China and apparently is working to reestablish ties with old allies. Case in point, the Philippines:
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has repeatedly threatened to break away from the U.S., praised Donald Trump and reassured the president-elect of his country’s ties with America in a call late Friday.
“I could sense a good rapport, an animated President-elect Trump, and he was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem,” Duterte said in a statement. “I appreciate the response I got from President-elect Trump and I would like to wish him success. And he wishes us well. And I said that, well, we assured him of our ties with America.”
Duterte has been tilting toward China and Russia in his foreign policy. While in Beijing in October, he said it could be the three nations “against the world.” Before flying to the APEC gathering in Peru last month, he said he would be the first to join if China and Russia decide to create a new world order. In a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Peru, he said America and Western nations are bullying smaller countries like his and that “they are into so much hypocrisy.”
“It’s good for President Duterte to realize that in his pursuit of an independent foreign policy, he can’t swing to the extreme and must continue to strengthen his relations with the nation’s long-time allies,” Manhit said.