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Duterte: Separation with US doesn’t mean cutting diplomatic ties

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a newsconference in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Duterte's effusive message of friendship on his visit to Beijing this week has handed China a public relations bonanza just three months after Beijing suffered a humiliating defeat by an international tribunal. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Separation with the United States would not mean severing diplomatic ties with it, as this would not be good for Filipinos, President Rodrigo Duterte said at a news conference shortly after arriving late Friday night from his four-day state visit to China.

Mr. Duterte said his words should be taken in the context of what he has been saying all along.
When he mentioned separation, during an address he gave during his China trip, what he was saying was “separation of a foreign policy,” he said.

“It’s not severance of ties,” he said during the question-and-answer part after his brief coming-home address.” When you say severance of ties, you cut the diplomatic relations. I cannot do that. Why? It’s to the best interest of my country that we maintain that relationship.”

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He noted that there are many Filipinos in the US and Americans of Filipino ancestry.  So it would not be feasible to sever diplomatic ties with the US.

“Why? The Filipinos in the United States will kill me,” he said.

In the past, he noted, the had always followed the cue of the US. But this time, he said, he was taking a different tack.

As to whether his announcement would affect the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and other agreements with the US, he said, “maybe.”

“But I have to consult the military and the police and everybody, because at the end of the day, it is all security,” he said.

Mr. Duterte came home late Friday night from his four-day state visit to China, which he said turned out to be “productive.”

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TAGS: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, US-Philippine relations
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