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Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte made no secret of his attachment to China and its leader Xi Jinping.

“For all his kindness … [Xi Jinping] is ready to help. All we have to do is ask, “said Duterte in a recent TV address on the fight against Covid-19.

Since his election in 2016, President Duterte has made five state visits to Beijing, returning to boast promises of multibillion-dollar Chinese loans and grants to the Philippines.

But the goodwill between the two countries was put to the test this weekend after the Chinese Embassy in Manila posted a clip on YouTube on country cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic entitled: “Iisang Dagat ยป [One Sea].

Since Friday, the video – which features Chinese and Filipino musicians singing lyrics written by the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines – has received nearly 150,000 dislikes (up from 2,000 I like) and many angry comments.

Critics of the video say the title is provocative due to China’s illegal claims to the western Philippine Sea territory.

One comment, which has more than 1,000 likes, reads: “The Philippines is for the Filipinos … TAKE OUR LAND! This is just propaganda. “

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines that China had no legal basis to claim rock outcrops in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila tweeted that the song was about “friendly neighbors across the sea” working together to overcome Covid-19.

See more on Twitter

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