> A big security threat could be about to become a big ally for the Philippines. President Rodrigo Duterte flying to China on Tuesday with a huge delegation of business leaders in tow, paving the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance. Reuters' Karen Lema says the numbers speak volumes about just how seriously he's taking it.
>> Initially there were only a few dozens of businessmen who were to accompany President Duterte in his Beijing trip. But that has ballooned to more than 200 to 300. And one local newspaper even put the figure. To 400, so the size of the delegation only shows how important this trip is in terms of deepening economic ties with the world's second largest economy.
>> But the visit is about more than just business. Duterte says he won't be shying away from the regions hottest political topic, the South China Sea.>> We will stick to our claim. We do not bargain anything there.>> Another big issue on the table. Duterte's bloody war on drugs.
Beijing says it will work with Manila to try and stop the flow of Narcotics to the Philippines. Coming out in full support of a campaign which has killed more than 3,000 people. Duterte's new found friendship with China comes just as another big relationship is looking rocky.>> President Rodrigo Duterte's four day visit in China could signal a transformation in Manila's ties with Beijing.
And could sooth years of hostility. But at the same time it could also put its relationship with its traditional ally, the United States. Under a lot of strain.>> And that's a relationship that most Filipinos don't seem ready to give up on. A recent poll showing that most still trust Washington over Beijing.