Duterte’s initial decision to scrap the pact was in line with his personal antipathy towards the United States, and his wish for better ties with Washington’s rival, Beijing, despite Philippine-Chinese tensions regarding the South China Sea. Separately, the Philippines and Japan held their first-ever combined air force exercise earlier this month.
- The Philippines will strengthen defence ties with India and South Korea as well as Japan.
- US vaccine supplies should help the Philippines speed up its COVID-19 inoculation programme.
- Duterte will continue to encourage investment from China and downplay Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea.