Asian geopolitics and the Philippine economy could undergo profound changes if Manila ends up breaking historic military and economic ties with the U.S. to ally with China instead.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced the "separation" during a state visit to China on Thursday, ending speculation as to whether or not he would follow up on previous threats of "breaking up with America."
Speaking to an audience in Beijing, the outspoken leader said that he had "realigned" himself to China's ideological flow. "Maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to [President Vladimir] Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way," media quoted him as saying.
Philippine policymakers released a statement following his speech, clarifying that their county was not turning its back on the West and adding that Asian integration was long overdue. On Friday, Trade Minister Ramon Lopez told CNN Philippines that his country would maintain its trade and economic ties with the U.S.
In recent weeks, the President has ramped up anti-American rhetoric while simultaneously cozying up towards the world's number two economy to gain Chinese funds and distance his country from the U.S., which has criticized the extra-judicial killings under his war on drugs.