World News – Tough-talking Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his country’s “separation” from long-time ally America Thursday, declaring that he was pivoting instead to China.
The leader — who has been compared to Donald Trump — made his comments during a visit to Beijing, which he is to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with Washington deteriorate.
“In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States,” Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people, to applause, at a forum in the Great Hall of the People attended by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
“Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.”
Duterte’s efforts to engage China, months after a tribunal ruling in the Hague over South China Sea disputes in favor of the Philippines, marks a reversal in foreign policy since the 71-year-old former mayor took office on June 30.
“I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way,” Duterte added.
Duterte, who has been criticized by Washington over human rights concerns amid his bloody war on drugs, has called President Barack Obama a “son of a b****” and told him to “go to hell.”
About 1,000 anti-U.S. protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila Wednesday calling for the removal of U.S. troops from the southern island of Mindanao.
China has welcomed the Philippines approaches, even as Duterte has vowed not to surrender any sovereignty to Beijing, which views the South China Sea Hague ruling as null and void.