New Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed a desire for closer ties with Beijing over the Philippines’ traditional ally in the region, the United States

101 East – Rodrigo Duterte: A President’s Report Card from Al Jazeera English

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made remarks on December 11, 2016 that provided further evidence of the Philippines shift to a Beijing-centered alliance with the Philippines acceptance of an arms deal with the PRC. Addressing Philippine troops at Camp Aguinaldo, the President said, “China is pressing me on the firearms, which are already there. I’ll accept them. They’re rushing it.”

The Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana discussed other prospective arms deals with China and even Russia, visiting Moscow last week for the first time a Philippine Defense Chief has done so since the two nations established diplomatic relations in 1976. “If their sniper rifles are as superior as they claim, we may decide to acquire…The army and marines will conduct tests and determine how many they may require.”

The new Philippine President began reaching out to China and Russia after assuming office in June of 2016. He is also noted for his at times belligerent relationship with the United States’ Obama administration after Obama questioned Duterte’s ruthless methods in combating the Philippines crippling drug war. Traditionally, the United States has supplied the Philippines with arms and the Philippines relationship with China was fraught under Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III who brought disputes with China over the South China Sea into arbitration in international courts.

[The LA Times – Another sign that the Philippines is cozying up to China]