Philippines’ Duterte wants to ‘open alliances’ with Russia, China

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the military's Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern Philippines September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the military’s Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern Philippines September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would visit Russia and China this year to chart an independent foreign policy and “open alliances” with two powers with historic rivalries with the United States.

Duterte said the Philippines was at the “point of no return” in relations with former colonial ruler the United States, so he wanted to strengthen ties with others, and picked two global powers that have been sparring with Washington on the international political stage.

Last week, he last declared he would visit China, with which ties remain frosty over a South China Sea arbitration ruling won by the Philippines in July. He said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was expecting him in Moscow.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

An arbitration court in The Hague in July invalidated China’s claims to the waterway in a case brought by the Philippines, a ruling Beijing refuses to recognize.

“I am ready to not really break (U.S.) ties but we will open alliances with China and… Medvedev,” Duterte told reporters, adding he would open up the “other side of the ideological barrier”.

He welcomed investment and shrugged off rating agency Standard and Poor’s concerns last week about the Philippine economy on his watch.

“Never mind about the ratings,” he said. “I will open up the Philippines for them to do business, alliances of trade and commerce.”

The peso fell on Monday to its lowest since 2009, and foreign investors have dumped local shares for six straight weeks, worried about Duterte’s anti-U.S. rhetoric and brutal war on drugs, which has alarmed rights groups at home and abroad.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the Philippine government had not contacted the United States about the comments made by Duterte.

U.S. cooperation with the Philippine government remains strong and the United States has not seen anything that would indicate a shift by Manila, Toner said at a daily news briefing.

“They’re a sovereign nation and we’re certainly not going to hold them back from pursuing closer relations with either of those countries. … It’s not a zero-sum game,” he said.

Duterte also said he would open up telecoms and airlines, two domestic sectors long controlled by local players and criticized for being uncompetitive. He did not elaborate.

His vitriol against the United States has become a near-daily occurrence, sparking both amusement and concern. On Monday he accused Washington of “hypocrisy” and “lording it over us”.

His latest swipe included ruling out participation in any maritime conflict initiated by the United States, despite a 1951 treaty which Duterte said required Manila to back Washington.

“I am about to cross the Rubicon between me and the U.S.,” he said,” without elaborating. “It’s the point of no return.”

Toner said he would dispute Duterte’s premise that the United States might start a maritime conflict. “The United states has a strong security presence in the Asia-Pacific region, but we’re certainly not looking to start a military action against anyone,” he said.

It was unclear whether Duterte’s outbursts will affect relations between the two countries, whose militaries have scheduled joint exercises in October.

On Monday, the U.S. embassy in Manila announced two-week deployment of a pair of C130 planes and 100 troops at an air base in the central Philippines, the third of its kind this year, as part of a rotational troops agreement.

Separately, Duterte said the United Nations, European Union and United States would get a free hand to investigate killings in his anti-narcotics campaign, but only under Philippine laws.

Deaths in the campaign have averaged more than 40 a day since Duterte took office on June 30.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato and Enrico dela Cruz; Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Editing by Martin Petty, Nick Macfie and David Gregorio)

Source: Reuters “Philippines’ Duterte wants to ‘open alliances’ with Russia, China”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


11 Comments on “Philippines’ Duterte wants to ‘open alliances’ with Russia, China”

  1. Simon says:

    If Duterte wants alliance with China and Rissia it should be coducted with sincereity and as a junior partner given Phillipines status as minor power. He must first close down of all American military basis and its end millitary co-operation. Also he must allow Chinese military bases in his country and buy Chinese military hardware.


  2. Fre Okin says:

    Duterte is the essence of the Fillipino spirit: daring to take on big countries. He will make the Fillipino people proud for standing up against bullies pretending to be friends. He is smart for moving Philippines away from economic over dependency on US. Japan should learn from Duterte, not a Yes man for US. The only way for smaller countries to deal with big bullies is to break the economic bondage to them and Philippines is wisely trying to move away from too much dependency on US.

    The whole world knows Mutual Defense Treaty 1951 between US and PH is a Joke. What can PH offer to Defend US? US use ‘Mutual’ to give her cover to mislead the PH public. By warning US, PH will not be defending her (who believe PH can defend US?) , Duterte effectively tell US if she cause mischief in the South China Sea, PH will Boot Her Out from the bases illegally set up under EDCA which deliberately bypass PH Senate and still not ratified, and thus an illegal agreement. Duterte do not want PH to become collateral damage in a US war with China.

    Duterte send a very clear message US is a pest in his neighborhood and PH will not allow US to use her soil and sea to create mischief there. Effectively Duterte is crippling US Pivot To Asia and Japan, Australia, Singapore etc should see the wisdom of his foreign policy and follow suit.


  3. Steve says:

    Usually, the ex President of a former political party would criticise the policies of the succeeding new President ,if it proves detrimental to the nation’s social status. So far, in spite of criticisms from abroad, the formal ex President Aquino has said nothing in relation to President Duterte’s plan of action that could jeopardise the international diplomacy of the Philippines.


    • alking1957 says:

      May be he knew he screwed up big time when he was in charge.


    • Hartono says:

      He was on the take. Perhaps Julian Assange and Wikileaks’ sources can find out how much he was paid. America is notorious for buying off opportunist politicians without firm convictions or beliefs.

      But be careful. Obama and the CIA will now be working in dirty underhanded ways to remove Duterte now. The morons and cavemen that run Washington can only think in terms of regime change and, war and conflicts to get what they want.


      • Steve says:

        Wikileaks and Assange — Excellent thought


      • Joseph says:

        Considering that the American had prepared another Marcos to replace Aquino to be Phillipines president before Duterte came along, the CIA had tried their hand and failed. Time has changed. Lack of funding has obviously made CIA lame. Turning around angry masses obviously needs lots of money, at least to buy them free lunches and free T-shirts. At most, all they can do now to incite their loyalist politicians to make trouble, just like those American loyalist remnant politicians in Indonesia. It’s cheaper.


    • johnleecan says:

      Aquino is silent because he’s afraid he might be targeted by Duterte for enriching himself in office and the thing he’s most afraid of is his sexual orientation. He has seen how a former justice secretary and now a senator being targeted for drug dealings and having sexual relations with a couple of men. The most damaging is a supposed sex scandal video of the senator. Now, could Aquino too has some scandalous video?

      Remember, he’s the “gay president”. Why? He smiles when 8 Hongkongers died in a hostage taking in Manila with several others injured and traumatized. He smiles when 44 “Special Action Force” Philippine soldiers were ambushed and massacred. He said people who know him knows he has a variety of smiles that mean different things. So, is being a gay president bad? Does his smiles equal being gay or happy? Only Aquino knows what being a gay president is like because for most people…only a sick person smiles when tragedy struck.


      • Steve says:

        Agreed and Well Said, especially when he referred China to Nazism, it’s Sadistic. Any educated straight guy knows that the reference is wrong. Maybe he enjoys being tortured before Rapturous Delight.


    • Joseph says:

      Aquino is probably haunted by his mother Corazon Aquino for being such an unfilial son and cannot get even a good night sleep. He, after all, had destroyed what his mother had fought so hard for after the American and Marcos murdered his father. I am not surprised if Corazon Aquino rises from the grave only to spank him. It is bad enough to bewitch with your father murderers. But what’s worse than bewitching with your father murderers and failed so miserable. There is a saying that you cannot be a great leader and great parent at the same time. It is accurately true for Aquino mother and son.