Duterte ‘laughs, then smile’ at possible US trip after Balangiga bells’ return
President Rodrigo Duterte “laughed” then “smiled” when Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. reportedly told him that he would need to visit the United States after Washington agreed to return the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines.
In a press briefing at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit here, Locsin said he told US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that Duterte would only visit the US if the Balangiga bells are returned to the Philippines.
“Now the point of that was, I reminded everyone. I said, ‘By the way, when this was raised, I said, he won’t go there until the Balangiga bells are returned.’ Well, they’re coming back so he will have to go there — to the United States — I would think, if that’s the condition he made,” Locsin said.
The US Army took the Balangiga bells during the Philippine-American War in 1901.
Locsin said he told Duterte on Tuesday night about the return of the bells, and he raised the possibility of the President’s trip to the US.
“Yes. Yes. He laughed. He smiled. He said, “’Yes,” Locsin said.
Duterte first made the call for the United States to bring the bells back to the Balangiga church during his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) in 2017. /ee
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