Duterte to forge closer ties with China, Russia

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he has decided to "cross the Rubicon" in his ties with the United States and will open trade alliances and offer long-term land leases to "the other side of the ideological barrier," China and Russia.

Duterte said he had brought up his plan during his meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summits held in Vientiane, Laos in early September.

“I have been talking with Prime Minister Medvedev. He had one-on-one meeting there [at the Asean summits]. It took so long. And I told him, ‘I think I have… I’m about to cross the Rubicon between me and the United States at least for six years,” the President said.

“I would need your help and everything – trade, commerce, and I will open up,” he added.

Duterte made the statement in a speech delivered before the officers of the Malacañang Press Corps, Malacañang Cameramen Association, and Presidential Photographers Association.

The chief executive, however, clarified that he was not cutting alliance with the US as he merely sought to have alliance with China and Russia.

“Actually, I said, I’m ready to not really break ties. But we will open up alliances with China [and Russia],” Duterte said. “I will open up the Philippines for them to do business, alliances of trade and commerce. There will never be a time about military alliances.”

Sought for clarification on Philippines “crossing a Rubicon” with the US in terms of concrete foreign policy, Duterte said he found it problematic that the US still needs its Congress’s approval to declare war to help its allies.

“There is a [Philippine-United States] pact that was in the ‘50s. It says that an attack on the Philippines would be an attack of the United States. But in the United States Constitution, it says that before a President can declare war with anybody in defense of an ally. He has to [ask] Congress for permission to go to war. That’s the problem,” the President said.

“So if Congress will not give him that authority, what will happen to us? America, I said, it does not know what the left hand is – the right hand is doing,” he added.

In 1951, the Philippines entered into a mutual defense treaty with the US.

But since Duterte assumed the presidency, he kept on criticizing the US, particularly US President Barack Obama, for its interference in his drug war.

Duterte even made an international headlines that he allegedly called Obama a “son of a bitch.” He later on explained that his cuss word was not directed to the US president. (Sunnex)

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