Philippines’ President Announces Split With US

Philippines’ President Announces Split With USPhilippines’ President Announces Split With US

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the Philippines’ “separation” from longstanding ally the United States during a visit in Beijing, as he rebalances his country’s diplomacy toward China.

Duterte’s comments came after he met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square on Thursday, Al Jazeera reported.

The two also pledged to enhance trust and friendship and played down a maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

“I announce my separation from the United States, both in military but economics also,” Duterte announced at a meeting of Filipino and Chinese businessmen in Beijing.

“America has lost it,” Duterte was quoted as saying in a transcript of his speech by the Philippine Presidential Communications Office on Friday morning.

“I mean, I realigned myself in your ideological flow 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.”

Duterte is in China on a four-day trip seen as confirming his tilt away from Washington and towards Beijing’s sphere of influence.

Xi called the two countries “neighbors across the sea” with “no reason for hostility or confrontation”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The two leaders held “extensive” and “amicable” official talks and oversaw the signing of 13 bilateral deals, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Since 1951, the Philippines has maintained a defense treaty with the US, which pledges that both countries would come to each other’s defense in case of an armed attack.

The White House said on Thursday the Philippine government has not officially asked to end any security or economic ties between the US and Manila.

“We have not received any official requests from Filipino officials to alter any of our many issues where we bilaterally cooperate,” White House Spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters.

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