“Separation” does not mean cutting off diplomatic ties – Duterte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Oct) – “It’s not severance of ties. When you say severance of ties, you cut the diplomatic relations. I cannot do that,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in a press conference at the airport early Saturday as he clarified his statement before Filipino-Chinese businessmen in Beijing on October 20, announcing “my separation from the United States .. both the military but economics also.”

“In this venue, I announce my separation from the United States both in military, so — not in the social … both the military but economics also,” Duterte told the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum.

“I have separated from them so I will be dependent on you for all times. But do not worry, we will also help as you help us,” Duterte said.

President Rodrigo Duterte clarifies his statements on US relations upon arrival in Davao City from his state visits in Brunei and China, shortly before midnight on Friday, October 21, 2016. Mindanews photo
President Rodrigo Duterte clarifies his statements on US relations upon arrival in Davao City from his state visits in Brunei and China, shortly before midnight on Friday, October 21, 2016. Mindanews photo

In the same speech, Duterte said he has “realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia.

Asked in the press conference early Saturday what he meant by “separation,” Duterte replied: “You know, you have to take my words in the context of what I have been saying all along. It’s not severance of ties. 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. Why? Because there are many Filipinos in the United States of well, Americans, of Filipino ancestry. Why? Because the people of my country (are) not ready to accept– I said ‘separation.’”

“That’s why better be careful with the word ‘we separate or severed, severed our diplomatic relations.’ Second one is not feasible. Why? Because the Filipinos in the United States will kill me,” the President said.

“What I was really saying was separation of a foreign policy,” Duterte said, explaining that before he became President, “we always follow(ed) what the United States would give the cue.”

He said this would not be the case under his Presidency. He will not even go to the United States during his six-year term, “not in this lifetime,” he added.

But Duterte was not able to answer the query on the concerns raised by workers in call centers operated by US companies in the Philippines due to his recent pronouncements of “separation” even on the economic aspect.

When the reporter from CNN Philippines repeated the question if Filipino workers employed in call centers owned by Americans have something to worry about, Duterte replied: “How about the Americans working for– here also in the Philippines? If I should worry about the Filipinos, they should also (worry) about the Americans here and their investments.” (MindaNews)

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