Philippines’ Duterte tells US to forget about defense deal ‘if I stay longer’
AP photoPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out anew at the United States on Oct. 25 and said it could forget a bilateral defense deal if he stayed in power long enough, in the latest jarring statement from Manila about the future of the alliance.
The fresh broadside from Duterte came as he was about to board a plane for an official visit to fellow U.S. ally Japan, a big investor in the Philippines that is becoming nervous about its apparent pivot towards rival power China.
The volatile, crime-busting Duterte had on the eve of the visit softened his remarks last week about a “separation” from Washington, telling Japanese media he wasn’t planning to change alliances and was only seeking to build trade and commerce with China.
But he pulled no punches on Oct. 25 when he said he hated having foreign troops in the Philippines and told the United States not to treat his country “like a dog with a leash.”
Commenting on a visit to Manila on Oct. 24 by Daniel Russel, an Assistant Secretary of State, Duterte said Washington should forget about an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Philippines if he were to stay in charge longer.
“You have the EDCA, well forget it. If I stay here long enough,” he said. “I do not want to see any military man of any other nation except the Filipino. That’s the only thing I want.”
He did not elaborate on what staying longer meant. In the Philippines, a president is allowed only one six-year term in office.
The U.S. Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg said Oct. 25 that the security threat in the conflict-plagued region was “very serious,” warning the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was among a number of foreign militant organizations trying to increase its involvement there, and therefore the U.S. wanted to remain involved in the campaign to quell Islamic militancy in the country.
‘Pack up and leave,’ says Duterte to worried foreign business
Duterte also voiced outrage at comments the previous day by Russel that his fiery rhetoric and crime war, which has claimed about 3,700 lives in four months, were bad for business.
“These Americans are really crazy. Their style is to walk here. They think they are somebodies,” Duterte said, as he held up a newspaper with headlines reporting the criticism from Russel.
“Russel says ‘Duterte comments causing worries in business communities’. Then you pack up and leave. We will recover, I assure you.”