MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said the reason he pivoted towards China and Russia from the United States was due to the latter’s lack of respect to Philippine sovereignty.
In an interview with a Russian government-funded television network that aired on Friday night, President Duterte explained the reason for his stronger ties with non-traditional partners China and Russia.
“It’s because they respect the sovereignty of the country which America is totally, totally, lacking,” Duterte said. “It’s not only the Philippines but all over the world they do not respect sovereignties of the government.”
“(US) continues to look at us as vassal state because we’re under Americans for 50 years and they lived off the fat of the land before we got our independence. We went to war against them. So if I cannot get a credible posture from the Americans, I can get it from the Russian and the Chinese government(s),” he added.
“I mean, America is not the Philippines and the Philippines is not America. It ain’t that way anymore. And I refuse to dovetail under American foreign policy. They’re always antagonizing the Chinese, and so with the Philippines,”the President added.
Duterte said he sought to further boost the Philippines’ alliances with Russia and China, particularly on trade and commerce.
“And the economics, I’m veering towards so many… I’d like to open new fronts with Russia (and) with China,” the President said. “We have increased in trade and commerce. It’s robust. And maybe if I could start trading with Russia it would be good, it would be that fine.”
The United States and the Philippines were longtime allies but one of the military agreements between the two countries may soon be scrapped.
President Duterte has recently ordered the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) after the American government canceled the visa of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.
Aside from scrapping VFA, President Duterte also declined American President Donald Trump’s invitation for him to visit the US for a meeting with other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations./PN