Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte wants to liberate his country from a “shackling dependency” on the United States, a top official in Manila said on Thursday.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in a Facebook post that Duterte is “compelled to realign” Philippine foreign policy and not submit to US demands and interests, Reuters reports.
“Breaking away from the shackling dependency of the Philippines to effectively address both internal and external security threats has become imperative in putting an end to our nation’s subservience to United States’ interests,” Yasay wrote.
The show of accord with Duterte’s tough anti-US stance came after the Philippines president triggered a diplomatic storm in recent days with a series of controversial comments.
Among other things, Duterte has declared that joint US-Philippines military exercises will be ended and that a defense agreement with Washington could be reviewed.
On Monday, Duterte said US President Barack Obama should “go to hell”, the latest rebuke stemming from US concern about Duterte’s deadly war on drugs.
Duterte said on Thursday that the US and European Union should withdraw their assistance to the Philippines if they were unhappy with his crackdown.
Asked about the ongoing criticism from Manila, a State Department spokesman in Washington said the US was “mindful of the rhetoric we believe that it is at odds with the kind of cooperation that we have right now”.
Yasay, in his Facebook post, said that the Philippines is grateful to the US for “many significant countless things” over their decades-old alliance, but noted that his nation remains underdeveloped and weak militarily.
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