Filipino President Duterte has continued to pivot away from the United States. President Duterte recently visited Beijing where he spoke scathingly of the United States and even proposed a Sino-Russian-Filipino alliance. He has also agreed to engage in direct talks with the Chinese over the South China Sea. All of this has neighbors in the region uncertain over what to do next. Vietnam may move cautiously  by balancing relations with China and the United States. Yet with the region thrown into confusion over the Philippines’ latest actions, there is still much to be uncertain of.

China is hesitant to embrace the Filipino offers of alliance. Its relationship with Russia and the United States are complex and it has no interest in pursuing alliance with one and striking against the other. China seeks a measured balance that increases its influence over Southeast Asia and limits US influence and access in the region. Chinese public views of the Philippines is still fairly negative since the two country’s legal dispute over the disputed South China Sea region.

This latest development in the region certainly favors the Chinese. But what exactly is the goal of the Philippines in this and how far do the Chinese want to go with him on it?

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony held in Beijing

Photo taken from