Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is done with us. "I announce my separation from the United States," he declared Thursday on a visit to Beijing, adding that he will instead seek a military and economic alliance with China, Reuters reports. "I've realigned myself in your ideological flow," he told his audience, adding that he hopes to add another major player to the mix. "I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world—China, Philippines and Russia," he said. "America has lost." The White House downplayed the move, with a spokesman saying the US remained a strong economic partner of the Philippines.
Duterte has bristled at US condemnation of his bloody war on drugs, personally insulted President Obama, and threatened to leave the "stupid" UN. While he's been throwing barbs at the US, Duterte has apparently been sending flowers to Beijing. He was greeted by a full marching band upon his arrival in Beijing (Obama didn't even get a staircase), and his finance minister plans to ink $13.5 billion worth of economic deals while on the current visit to China. The deal is an especially important diplomatic victory for China, the Wall Street Journal reports, because it signals the Philippines is ready to come to the negotiating table and resolve what has been a major territory dispute over Chinese military bases in the South China Sea. (Read more Philippines stories.)