News analysis

Disconnect in Duterte's China policy: Deliberate or just a tangled mess?

Some watchers of President Rodrigo Duterte see method in the disconnect between moves on the ground, and what is being communicated.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA - The mixed messages sent between President Rodrigo Duterte's conciliatory tone towards China and the barrage of protests from his own foreign and defence ministries over apparent incursions into Philippine-claimed waters have led to a cognitive dissonance in Manila's disputes with Beijing over the South China Sea.

On Wednesday (May 5), he dismissed a historic legal victory for the Philippines against China over the South China Sea as "just paper" fit for the rubbish bin.

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