IMPRESSED by his reshaping of Philippine foreign policy and daring pivot to China, popular Chinese language magazine Yazhou Zhoukan named President Rodrigo Duterte “Person of the Year” in its first edition for 2017.
The Hong Kong-based international affairs magazine known in English as “Asia Weekly” also gave the tough-talking Filipino politician a seven-page cover story in its January issue and praised his government’s achievements so far.
The story was highlighted on Facebook late last week along with pictures of the lengthy feature.
“Again, the President was chosen for having changed the balance of power in Asia,” said Joaquin Sy, the Facebook user who snapped the pictures.
Reposting Sy’s images, another user, Krizette Laureta Chu said Duterte’s daring decision to foster better ties with his Asian neighbours would be “one of his greatest legacies yet”.
“Philippines as part of solid Asia, yes!” she wrote. “The purse strings will be owned by Asians, and the world knows that. We are moving towards the right direction. Xie xie!”
Philippine presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella confirmed the magazine feature on Tuesday, according to ABS-CBN.
Abella claimed that the publication said to be the “Time magazine of the Chinese-speaking world” named Duterte its “Person of the Year” due to his “announcement of his independent foreign policy, his distancing away from the U.S., and forging closer ties with China”.
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“Article also praises Duterte’s good governance and anti-corruption campaign as the reason for his popularity among Filipinos,” he was quoted saying.
Since taking power in June last year, Duterte has made headlines for declaring an end to the Philippines’ decades-old military alliance with the U.S., whose leaders have been openly critical of his violent crackdown on drug criminals.
In his bid to pursue a more independent foreign policy, Duterte has also openly announced plans to bolster ties with U.S. rivals China and Russia.