CNN reports: Philippines officials have gone into damage control mode after controversial President Rodrigo Duterte said the country’s long-term alliance with the United States was over.
Philippines Trade Minister Ramon Lopez told CNN the country “would not stop trade and investment with the US.”
“(Duterte) has decided to strengthen further and rekindle the ties with China and the ASEAN region,” Lopez said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
There was widespread shock after Duterte announced his “separation” from the US, suggesting he would cut both economic and military ties, in favor of moving closer to Beijing.
“America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow,” President Duterte told business leaders in Beijing on Thursday.
“And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”
In a statement Friday, Duterte’s office said the Philippines had no intention to renege on treaties or agreements with established allies.
The President’s comments were “an assertion that we are an independent and sovereign nation, now finding common ground with friendly neighbors with shared aspirations in the spirit of mutual respect, support and cooperation,” the statement said. [Continue reading…]