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Critics of President Duterte’s China policy ask him to copy Vietnam, probably imagining that country is constantly screeching and whining and confronting the regional superpower. It is true that Vietnam and China have come to blows several times in the past, first when Beijing sent an expeditionary force across the border to “punish” her tough Indochinese neighbor and then when Hanoi sent in commandos to eject a Chinese garrison from one of the Paracel islands Vietnam claims. But over the past several years, Vietnam has pursued a more tempered, more nuanced and more pragmatic approach toward her powerful northern neighbor. Call it anger management. Or credit the Vietnamese with the sophistication of recognizing China as a “frenemy” – both friend and enemy.
Magno, A. (2019, July 27). Frenemies. The Philippine Star, p. 10.
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- The Philippine Star