As U.S.-Philippine relations have grown somewhat unhealthy over the last few weeks, Rodrigo Duterte has reached out with a kind hand to Japan. Japan has been a large player in trade with the Philippines recently, and the forecast looks promising. Although the two countries differ in their view towards a looming China, they expect to grow closer in their economic ties.
Although Duterte and the Philippines have just recently drawn closer to China economically, they are also asking for a closer economic tie with Japan, possibly resulting in greater Japanese investment in Philippine production and agriculture. China’s actions in the South China Sea near Japan have induced declining relations between the two countries. With Japan and the Philippines reacting differently to China’s off-shore activities, it has created a growing dynamic in eastern Asia.
Further intensifying the situation is the economic tie of the U.S. and Japan. As the Philippines has decreased its economic dependence on the U.S., Japan may now become a middle-man of sorts between the U.S. and the Philippines.
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