With His “Milestone” Visit, Duterte Moves Positively Towards China, And Away From The USPhilippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on October 20, 2016 (AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday (20 October), Chinese President Xi Jinping said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's “milestone” visit to his country could facilitate ties between the two countries, which have suffered due to a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

Duterte came to Beijing on Tuesday (18 October) along with at least 200 top businesspersons to make way for what he calls a new commercial alliance, since relations with its long-time ally, the United States, has hit a low point.

To the members of the Filipino expat community in Beijing, Duterte said:

Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So time to say goodbye, my friend…No more American interference. No more American exercises. What for? ...I will not go to America anymore. I will just be insulted there...

He then went on to call the US President Barack Obama a“son of a whore” yet again.

The US-Philippines spat began since the Obama administration started questioning Duterte’s policies in dealing with drug crime. In response, Duterte issued a series of blistering remarks asking Obama to stop dictating policy to the Philippines.

This shift in the Philippines’ foreign policy comes after 65 years of close partnership with the US.

Duterte has now engaged China months after a ruling in The Hague over South China Sea dispute went in favour of the Philippines.

Chinese President Jinping told Duterte at Beijing that China and the Philippines were brothers and could “appropriately handle disputes”, thereby sidestepping the South China Sea row before the reporters.

I hope we can follow the wishes of the people and use this visit as an opportunity to push China-Philippines relations back on a friendly footing and fully improve things.

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