ANALYSIS | On Duterte’s strategy: Why diplomacy can’t be a one-man show

KYOTO – Just into his fourth month as head of state, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has managed to become one of the most controversial actors on the global stage, rivalling if not eclipsing Donald Trump. His war on drugs, marred by the extra-judicial execution of drug users and peddlers, won him the title of “serial killer” on French television.  More recently, his telling US President Obama to “go to hell” and his declaration of “separation” from the United States and “alignment”with China and Russia during a state visit to Beijing has alarmed and befuddled governments in the East Asian region.

Foremost among these is the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan, which has been tightening its ties with Washington and considers the Philippines a vital element in the US-Japan strategy of encircling China and limiting its capability of projecting its maritime power.  A visit to Tokyo by Duterte earlier this week did little to reassure the Japanese.  Coming out of a meeting with Duterte, a top foreign policy official of the Japanese government told me that he found Duterte “unnecessarily provocative” towards the United States. Read more…duterte-abe

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