China's chief official newspaper, the People's Daily, is gloating over the discomfort Washington finds itself in after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited China and publicly said that he was leaving the United States, followed two weeks later by Malaysia's prime minister, Najib Razak, who also tightened relations with China, including signing security agreements.

On Nov. 3, the paper published in its online edition a commentary headlined "State spokesman struggles with facts: As the U.S. pivots to Asia, the region turns to China."

It focused on a U.S. State Department press briefing on Nov. 1, in which the spokesman, John Kirby, was asked about the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Kirby made two points. "First, he said that the rebalance is not about China," the commentary reported. "Second, he argued against the idea that countries are turning away from the U.S. and turning to China, saying that the idea 'is just not borne out by the facts." '