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The 71-year-old populist was set to return from his four-day state visit on Friday having secured a reported $13.5bn (£11bn) in deals and a lucrative new alliance with the Asian giant.  “It has the potential to be [a turning point in Philippine history],” one Manila broadsheet said of Duterte’s “pivot to China” after he delighted an audience of Communist party grandees in the Great Hall of the People by declaring his “separation” from the United States and new allegiance to Beijing. By seducing Washington’s best friend in south-east Asia, Xi, at a stroke, undermined one of the key planks of Barack Obama’s foreign policy – the “pivot to Asia” bid to counter Beijing’s influence in the region.

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