The Philippines: Duterte ‘causing concern,’ says US
THE US claimed yesterday that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was causing global “consternation” with his talk of escaping Washington’s orbit.
Speaking to reporters in Manila after talks with Filipino Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said: “The succession of controversial statements, comments and a real climate of uncertainty about the Philippines’ intentions has created consternation in a number of countries, not only in mine.”
Mr Russel said unease was felt “in corporation boardrooms as well.”
He added that while the US supported Manila’s fight against the drug trade, Mr Duterte’s encouragement of an alleged links to extrajudicial killings — estimated to number in the thousands — was “bad for business.”
Last week, the president said: “Goodbye, my friend” to the US before a packed hall in Beijing, where the Philippines and China signed a raft of co-operation agreements with his government.
Outgoing US ambassador Philip Goldberg said: “Some of the language we’ve heard is inconsistent with that friendship.”
Mr Duterte had accused Mr Goldberg of “meddling” during the Philippines presidential election campaign earlier this year.
In 2008, the US diplomat was expelled from Bolivia by socialist President Evo Morales after he met secessionist Santa Cruz province Governor Ruben Costas.
On Saturday, Mr Yasay posted a statement on Facebook insisting that Manila did not want to break the “special bond between our two nations.”
But he added: “Separation from our former colonial master is demanded in pursuing our independent foreign policy.
“It implies breaking away from the debilitating mindset of dependency and subservience, economically and militarily, that have perpetuated our ‘little brown brother’ image to America, which has stunted our growth and advancement.”