Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will make a state visit to China next week in the latest sign of reaching out to Beijing while questioning his country’s traditional ties with the United States.
China and the Philippines made the long-expected announcement Wednesday for the Oct. 18-21 visit.
Despite their ongoing dispute over territorial claims in the South China Sea, Duterte has said he wants stronger ties with China to gain funding for development projects and reduce US influence over its former colony.
Duterte said Tuesday he will not abrogate a defense treaty with the United States but questioned its importance and that of joint combat exercises, which China opposes. He also wants US counter terrorism forces to leave his country’s south, saying their presence was inflaming restiveness among minority Muslims.