Could Manila's soft-pedaling of its territorial dispute with Beijing lead to a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that fits Chinese interests?
Behind Duterte's façade of triviality and pettiness is a concerted plan to shift the Philippines away from the US and closer to China.
What does the president's reaction, or lack thereof, mean?
The real issue is whether the new leader can find an appropriate balance in dealing with the two major powers in the Indo-Pacific region – China and the United States.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr walks a fine foreign-policy line, looking to China for economic support, while deepening security relations with the US