Last month, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte paid a visit to two ASEAN countries, Thailand and Myanmar, completing his introductory tour in the region as the republic's new leader. His visit to Thailand, from March 21 to 23, was observed closely by analysts who were curious about his government's relationship with the despotic Thai regime.

Duterte visited Thailand twice in the past four months. The first time was in November when he flew to Bangkok to pay respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. While in the Thai capital, Duterte also held talks with Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha and met with members of the Thai private sector and the overseas Filipino community in Thailand.

On the official front, the two countries signed myriad agreements on cooperation in agriculture, tourism, and science and technology. The Philippines agreed to procure Thai rice out to 2018. Duterte shared his views with his counterpart on economic reforms and was keen to explore business opportunities in lucrative areas including services, digital content, energy, agriculture and innovation in Thailand. Moreover, they discussed the possibility of establishing special economic zones and corridors in their respective countries.