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Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr review the honour guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 4, 2023

cnsphoto via REUTERS

Can a hotline prevent war in South China Sea?

I know when that hotline bling, that can only mean one thing: Beijing and Manila are beefing over uninhabitable rocks again. China and the Philippines have reportedly set up a bilateral hotline meant to help them avoid a deadly incident in the disputed South China Sea.

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Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida poses with U.S President Joe Biden as they are on the way to state dinner in Washington DC, U.S, on April 10, 2024.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

Biden and Kishida bromance is meant to make Xi sweat

The White House showered Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with gifts and honors during his state visit starting Wednesday, but the friendly display is aimed just as much at Beijing as it is Tokyo.

Kishida and Biden announced an upgrade to the longstanding US-Japan defense agreement on Wednesday that will make Japan’s military more agile by appointing a local US command and organizing a joint military-industrial production committee. The two will hold a trilateral meeting with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday to discuss further military cooperation.

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Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and US. President Joe Biden walk to the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC.

REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool

Despite big US trip, Philippine leader still walks a Chinese tightrope

On Monday, US President Joe Biden welcomed Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the White House almost 41 years after the latter's dictator dad had his last huddle with Ronald Reagan. (Fun fact: Thanks to diplomatic immunity, Bongbong visits America without fear of arrest despite an outstanding $353 million contempt of court fine over a lawsuit linked to the elder Marcos's human-rights abuses.)

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Annie Gugliotta

World leaders: Thanks for nothing!

This Thursday, many of our readers — particularly in the US — will celebrate Thanksgiving.

At worst, it’s a day to argue with your relatives about super-chill topics like climate change, racism, abortion, or cancel culture (here’s a useful guide for that.)

But at best, it’s an opportunity to take a moment, look around, and recognize the things you’re grateful for in this life.

And it’s not just you — our world leaders have much to be thankful for as well. Here, then, is a partial list of global gratitude:

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Johnson attends a news conference during a NATO summit in Madrid.

REUTERS/Yves Herman

What We're Watching: Bombshell UK news, China-Philippines ties, Chilean constitution draft, G20 meeting

Britain’s bombshell resignations

The hits keep coming for the scandal-plagued administration of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. On Tuesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, both of them heavyweights in the Conservative Party, quit Johnson's government. The trigger came in the wake of MP Chris Pincher’s resignation last week. Pincher stepped down amid new allegations of sexual misconduct. But the party controversy has erupted over the PM’s decision to appoint Pincher as deputy chief whip in the first place. He denied being aware of earlier sexual misconduct allegations against Pincher. Those stemmed from Johnson’s tenure as foreign secretary, when Pincher served under him. The PM was forced to acknowledge this week that he had been briefed on the matter. On Tuesday, Johnson admitted that appointing Pincher had been a mistake. Johnson survived an embarrassing vote of no confidence on June 6 following revelations that he participated in social gatherings that violated COVID lockdown rules and failed to come clean with parliament. But the Pincher scandal and these bombshell resignations now have Johnson’s political career on life support.

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Marcos attends a news conference at his headquarters in Manila.

REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

What We're Watching: Marcos inauguration, Indian religious tensions, risotto shortage

Will Marcos 2.0 be kind to the Philippine media?

Weeks after winning the election in a landslide, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (aka Bongbong, or more recently BBM) will be inaugurated on Thursday as president of the Philippines. He has a lot on his plate, including uniting — as he promised repeatedly during the campaign — a country deeply divided over the legacy of his father, the late dictator. One issue that'll surely pop up soon is how he'll handle the media, which was heavily censored under the elder Marcos’ martial law. On Tuesday, the Philippine SEC ordered the shutdown of Rappler, the news site run by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, a vocal critic of outgoing strongman President Rodrigo Duterte. BBM will also face pressure to return a broadcast franchise to ABS-CBN, the country's biggest network, which Duterte canceled in early 2020 (and Marcos' dad also took off the air entirely in the 1980s). Supporters say Marcos 2.0 wants to kick off his presidency with a charm offensive to appease his enemies, but he may have more of a problem with his most powerful friend. Overturning two of Duterte's most controversial decisions would not go down well with the famously pugnacious outgoing leader — whose feisty daughter is … Marcos’s VP.

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Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s win, corruption and kleptocracy in the Philippines
Marcos Jr. Wins in Philippines: No Huge Changes in Governance Expected | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s win, corruption and kleptocracy in the Philippines

With Marcos Jr. about to win the presidency, how will his leadership change the Philippines? Sri Lanka's prime minister resigned. Will its president be next? Is Sinn Féin's victory a sign that a united Ireland is closer? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

With Marcos Jr. about to win the presidency, how will his leadership change the Philippines?

Well, it was a big win, almost 30 points over his opponent, and the first time we've seen an absolute majority in Philippines history for the presidency. Not huge changes expected in governance. Let's keep in mind that the vice president is actually the daughter of President Duterte, who's just leaving power. The president and the vice presidents here are actually... Those elections are held separately, and so you can have different parties that actually win, and frequently do, which is sort of an unusual twist to the Philippines. Pro-foreign direct investment, generally pro-markets, a little bit more of a US and Western tilt as opposed to Duterte, whose military really was skeptical of China, but he personally was more engaged with Beijing. The big question is what's the cabinet going to look like, how independent, how technocratic, or is there going to be a lot of corruption, a lot of kleptocracy? Keeping in mind that Bongbong, the new president, is the son of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who were drummed out for an extraordinary abuse of power in the Philippines before. So what everyone's going to be watching.

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