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Nothing wrong with PH forging alliances with US rivals—Almonte

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 02:36 PM October 06, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte (left) welcomes Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua (center), China's ambassador to the Philippines, to Malacañang. The Chinese embassy has expressed support for Duterte's war on illegal drugs. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte (left) welcomes Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua (center), China’s ambassador to the Philippines, to Malacañang. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

A former national security adviser sees nothing wrong with the Philippines forging alliances with other countries.

“The Philippines could remain as friends with our old allies like America. But at the same time, we can be friends of all others, even the enemies of America and that will be the best policy given, in fact, a situation where we are not as powerful as the rest,” Jose Almonte told reporters in a press briefing on Thursday.

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Almonte issued the statement after he was asked regarding the government’s plan to chart an independent foreign policy.

In his public speeches, President Rodrigo Duterte has said that he would eventually “break-up with America,” adding that he would rather go to China and Russia.

READ: ‘I would break up with America eventually,’ says Duterte

The United States is a long-time ally of the Philippines while China and Russia are known rivals of the US.

But for Almonte, he said it was best for the Philippines to maintain the “friendship with our old allies.”

“To me, the best foreign policy is let’s maintain our friendship with our old allies. But at the same time, let us work very hard to become friends of others, even if they are enemies of our allies,” he said.

Almonte said the Philippines was “perceived by the region and the world as the weakest in the chain.”

“So, it is in the interest of the allies that we become rich, we become prosperous because we will be a – rather than a dependent, further we will be – not just independent but a contributor to the partnership,” he said.

“So let me put it that way, that I’m not speaking – I’m not the spokesman of the United States. But let me say it categorically that it is in the interest of America that this nation progresses,” he added.

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Despite Duterte’s pronouncements, Malacañang on Wednesday said there were no “official moves” yet to sever ties with the US but it might cut ties with its longtime ally “in the future.”  JE/rga

 READ: ‘No official moves to cut ties yet but future breakup with US possible’

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TAGS: alliances, China, Foreign Policy, Jose Almonte, national security adviser, Philippines, United States
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