International

Duterte declares Philippines’ ‘separation from the U.S.’

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte attends a meeting with Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People on Thursday in Beijing.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte attends a meeting with Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People on Thursday in Beijing.  

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte declared his “separation” from long-standing ally the United States in Beijing on Thursday, as he rebalances his country’s diplomacy towards China.

Mr. Duterte is in China for a four-day trip seen as confirming his tilt away from Washington and towards Beijing’s sphere of influence — and its deep pockets.

“I announce my separation from the United States,” he said to applause at a meeting in the Chinese capital.

S. China Sea dispute

His comments came after he met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square, with the two men pledging to enhance trust and friendship, while playing down a maritime dispute. Mr. Xi called the two countries “neighbours across the sea” with “no reason for hostility or confrontation”, the official Xinhua news agency said. Under Mr. Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino, the two countries were at loggerheads over the South China Sea — where Beijing has built a series of artificial islands — but since taking office in June the new head of state has changed course.

In a statement, the Chinese foreign ministry cited Mr. Xi as telling Mr. Duterte their emotional foundation of friendly good neighbourliness was unchanged, and difficult topics of discussion “could be shelved temporarily”.

Addressing the Filipino community in Beijing on Wednesday, Mr. Duterte said the Philippines had gained little from its long alliance with the U.S., its former colonial ruler. China, he said earlier, was “good”. “It has never invaded a piece of my country all these generations.”

Mr. Duterte has also suspended joint U.S.-Philippine patrols in the strategically vital South China Sea, and has threatened an end to joint military exercises. — AFP

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

null
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:41:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Duterte-declares-Philippines%E2%80%99-%E2%80%98separation-from-the-U.S.%E2%80%99/article16077132.ece

Next Story