‘America has failed us’—Yasay
In his strongest remarks yet against the United States, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Wednesday said America’s “carrot and stick” approach toward the Philippines had prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to pursue a recalibrated foreign policy for the country that would not depend on the Western superpower.
“America has failed us,” Yasay said in a statement posted on the DFA website.
Amid a maritime dispute with China, Yasay lamented that the US, our “only ally,” could not assure the Philippines that “it will promptly come to our defense under our existing military treaty and agreements” in “taking a hard line towards the enforcement of our sovereignty rights under international law.”
“[T]he stark reality is that even in protecting our territorial boundaries and the exclusive use of our maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, our defensive forces remain grossly incapable in meeting the security threats that we face from potential foes, not to mention their stagnating impact on our development,” Yasay said.
“Breaking away from the shackling dependency of the Philippines to effectively address both internal and external security threats has become imperative in putting an end to our nation’s subservience to United States’ interests,” he added.
In his latest anti-West sentiments, Duterte on Tuesday said he would “break up with America” during his term amid continued criticisms against his bloody war on drugs. He also lashed out anew at US President Barack Obama and the European Union anew, saying the former “can go to hell” while the latter “better choose purgatory.”
Duterte earlier said he would explore alliances with and purchase weapons from China and Russia as he ranted about international attention drawn by alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the government’s anti-drug campaign. He also threatened to stop the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) and end war games between the Philippines and the US.
But Yasay said Duterte was just “trying to liberate us” from the “invisible chains” that the US held on to which he said “reined us in towards dependency and submission as little brown brothers not capable of true independence and freedom.”
He added that veering away from the US was not equivalent to cowing to China, despite “serious concerns and challenges with the Chinese as we try to engage them in bilateral talks.”
“We will never allow China or any other nation to bully us or deal with Philippine interests under another carrot and stick policy,” Yasay said.
“But for now the urgent message of PRRD in realigning our independent foreign policy is about the state of our relationship with America and traditional partners. It is principally addressed to American leaders and policy shapers. Are they willing to change their tack in dealing with us to be in sync with geopolitical realities? Does it value our special friendship to save and strengthen it?” he added. JE/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.