Can Japan Play the Mediator Amid Strained U.S.-Philippine Ties?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Oct. 26, 2016  (AP photo by Issei Kato).
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Oct. 26, 2016 (AP photo by Issei Kato).
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Last week, Rodrigo Duterte, the combative and mercurial new president of the Philippines, made high-profile visits to China and Japan, which have the two largest economies in Asia. In Beijing, Duterte offered alarming comments about his desire to “separate” from the United States, the Philippines’ sole military ally and security guarantor. In his typical off-the-cuff manner, he publicly mused that it would be preferable to join in some trilateral relationship with China and Russia, rather than focus on Manila’s relationship with Washington. China, looking to seize on Duterte’s vitriol against the U.S., offered him a massive suite of soft loans, […]

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