President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the Philippines’ “separation” of military and economic alliance from the United States, the country’s long-standing ally, during a state visit in Beijing to rebalance PH-China bilateral relationship after years of international confrontation.
“I announce my separation from the United States, both in military but economics also,” Duterte announced before 200 Chinese government officials and business leaders who responded with applause.
“America does not control our lives. Enough bullshit,” he added.
Duterte also questioned America’s financial debt to China which is the world’s second largest economy.
“How can you be the most powerful industrial country when you owe China and you are not paying it?”
“America has lost it,” Duterte was quoted saying on Friday morning in China’s Great Hall of the People.
In a previous speech to the Filipino community in Beijing on Wednesday, Duterte questioned the Philippines’ century old alliance to US, its former colonial ruler.
“Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So time to say goodbye, my friend… No more American interference. No more American exercises. What for?” he said.
Duterte also added, “I will not go to America anymore. I will just be insulted there.”
He also revealed plans to visit and firm up ties with Russia.
“I 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 also met Chinese President Xi Jinping and called their meeting “historic.”
“Though we come to your country close to winter, it is the springtime of our relationship,” Duterte told Xi.
After meeting Xi, Duterte said he prefers China “because it has the character of an Oriental. It does not go around insulting people.”
True to its Oriental character, China has welcomed Duterte with full military honors, including a marching band complete with baton-twirling band at his official welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People.
Xi referred to Duterte’s state visit as a “milestone” in ties, after meeting him earlier in the day.
He told the official Xinhua news agency that China and the Philippines are “neighbors across the sea” with “no reason for hostility or confrontation.”
“I hope we can follow the wishes of the people and use this visit as an opportunity to push China-Philippines relations back on a friendly footing and fully improve things,” Xi said.
Signing of Bilateral Deals
Duterte and Xi also committed to enhance trust and friendship, while playing down their countries’ overlapping maritime claims over the South China Sea. There is no specific agreement about it yet.
The two also signed some 13 bilateral deals including pacts on trade, investment, tourism, crime and drug prohibition, according to Xinhua.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that Philippines and China are to sign a $13.5 billion deals this week.
The Philippines Presidential Communications Office also said that Xi offered Philippines more than $9 billion in low-interest loans for development projects, with about one third of that coming from private banks. There will also be about $15 million in loans towards drug rehabilitation programs, amid Duterte’s bloody anti-war campaign that has met strong criticism, particularly from US.
China will also lift bans on 27 Philippine tropical fruit export companies which were previously intended as a punishment for the Philippines’ South China Sea stance. The ban will also include the coming back of the Philippine dried mango, which China has previously boycotted.
Chinese Vice minister Liu Zhenmin said that the meeting between Xi and Duterte marked a “full recovery” of the “traditional friendship” between the two countries, according to a transcript released by the Philippine president’s office.