- Philippine President’s mixed messages and “wild swings” in policy-making on the thorny South China Sea issue have cost Manila opportunities to make headway over its territorial claims in the waterway during his five years in power, analysts say.
- As President, Duterte’s relatively friendly rapport with China has marked a turnaround from his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, whose hard-line stance antagonized Beijing, especially when his administration took the South China Sea dispute to the arbitration court, and won.
- The arbitral award came with no policing powers to force Beijing into compliance; Duterte could have capitalized on it to shore up international support and advance Manila’s interests.
- In a televised address, Duterte described the arbitral ruling as “just a piece of paper” that he would “throw in the wastebasket.”
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