Poe hits Duterte’s ‘unclear’ foreign policy, ‘selective leniency’
Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday hit President Rodrigo Duterte’s “unclear” foreign policy, particularly his being “lenient” on one country while being “harsh” on another.
Poe was apparently referring to the President’s continued attacks against the United States and his apparent “soft” stand on China.
“His foreign policy objectives, to me, are unclear. We are allies with the [West] traditionally and we’re not saying keep it there. We can gain more friends but we don’t have to get rid of the others that we already have,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s morning show, “Headstart.”
“Our policy should be an independent foreign policy but we should not be an isolationist neither should we favor one particular country over another.”
“The Chinese, if they want to be here, fine. We have visiting agreement also with Australia, why not, as long as we’re not subservient to anyone. We should not create enemies that we don’t need.” she added.
The President’s statement that he would set aside the United Nations arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea did not also sit well with the lady senator.
“With the arbitral ruling, we should have taken advantage of that. What we have as a small country is the rule of law,” Poe said.
“If we capitalize on that, we can rally other countries in the international community to speak for us.”
The Philippines, she said, does not have to be an “aggressor” but it can put certain “pressures” on China by pushing for the arbitral ruling.
Poe also questioned the President’s reported statement that he would only discuss the arbitral ruling after his term.
Asked if it would be too late to discuss the ruling after six years, the senator said, “Why does it have to be six years? Why not now?”
“Yes, we can maintain diplomacy with all these countries but we should put our foot down and say: ‘No, we don’t agree with that.’ Why are we so lenient on a particular country and being harsh on another right now? I think that’s quite uncalled for,” she said.
‘Again, I maintain that we should have an independent foreign policy but that doesn’t mean that we have to side with China and be hostile against another country,” Poe added. CDG
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