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China's Xi visit the Philippines as Duterte pressured to take harder lines

MANILA (Reuters) – China President Xi Jinping arrived in the Philippines for a state visit on Tuesday with a view…

MANILA (Reuters) – China President Xi Jinping arrived in the Philippines for a state visit on Tuesday with a view to promoting strategic gains made during a joining in Manila which has benefited Beijing hoping to get billions of dollars of loans and investments .

China’s President, Xi Jinping, goes earlier on his arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport during a state visit to Manila, Philippines, November 20, 201

8. REUTERS / Erik De Castro

Xi’s visit comes two years after the Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte explained that he reoriented his foreign policy away from the United States and against China, despite the decades of distrust and bitter maritime disputes with Beijing.

In a commentary on Monday’s Filipino Star newspaper, Xi Duterte praised and described bands as “a rainbow after the rain” and repeatedly demanded “proper handling” of lines across the South China Sea.

But Dutert’s management style has frustrated nationalists who say he has been submissive in refusing to criticize China’s military structure, or attempting to comply with a 2016 arbitration which has void its claim to almost the entire water.

Public opinion largely supports Dutert’s presidency, but studies show consistent bookings about its Chinese politics and contempt for the United States.

A survey of social weather stations released late Monday showed that 84 percent of the philippines thought it was wrong not to oppose China’s militarization of its artificial islands and 86 percent believed it was right to strengthen the Philippine military, especially the fleet .

The 1200 survey conducted in late September also showed that confidence in the United States was “very good”, but China was considered “poor”.

A small protest was held outside of China’s Embassy in Manila on Tuesday.

On Tuesday of the investigation, President Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that Dutert’s strategy was to avoid a potential “inferno” of conflict while harvesting the benefit of improved business.

“They are not aware of real geopolitics in the region. The president is a very careful diplomat,” Panelo told the ANC.

“Instead of provoking, he would rather talk to them and get some trade relations that will benefit the country.”

Panelo accepted that these benefits, including $ 24 billion of mortgages and investments, would not yet be realized, but said that Duterte was not afraid to speak.

“This is the best time for the president to exert pressure on the Chinese president,” he said. “To know the man, he will do that. He is that kind of person.”

Duterte has estimated Xi to support his infrastructure program, but only three of dozens of planned projects have broken the ground.

Some analysts say that Duterte risks appear as if he has been forced to make concessions.

Other Philippine experts say that delays in securing Chinese credit could be a blessing given the potential debt burden, equivalent to a warning from US vice president Mike Pence.

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