Despite separation, US and Philippines may not be headed to divorce
TOKYO — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced a separation from the United States. Divorce, however, is far from certain.
The new Philippine leader sounded like a spouse snuggling up to a new lover while taking jabs at an estranged mate as he made his first trip to China, where leaders lavished him with trade deals and loans, loudly applauded his shift away from Washington and laughed at his jokes at U.S. expense.
“Americans are loud, sometimes rowdy. Their larynx is not adjusted to civility,” Duterte said while speaking before China’s elite at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, according to a video broadcast by Rappler, a Philippine news site.
The new Philippine leader already has said he is ending joint military exercises with the U.S. and talked Thursday about forming an alliance with China that could include Russia.
“I realign myself in your ideological flow and maybe I would also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines, Russia,” Duterte said.
But afterward, his cabinet officials were in damage-control mode, offering reassurances that trade and economic ties with the U.S. would continue.
Trade Minister Ramon Lopez went so far as to say that “separation” doesn’t really mean breaking up.
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