President Rodrigo Duterte accused the United States of disrespecting the Philipppines' sovereignty as he took exception to the US’ alleged meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
Duterte spoke about his sentiments against the US in an interview early this week by Russia's state-owned media outlet, RT, which was aired on Friday.
“America continues to look at us as a vassal state because we were under the Americans for 50 years and they lived off the fat of the land before we got our independence. We went to war against them,” Duterte said.
“If I cannot get a credible posture from the Americans, I can get it from the Russians and the Chinese government," he added.
"It’s because they respect the sovereignty of the country, which America is totally lacking. It’s not only the Philippines, but it’s all over the world they do not respect sovereignty," Duterte said.
The interview came before Duterte said that he would terminate the two decade-old Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement, which governs the presence of American troops in the country for military exercises.
The decision is an apparent offshoot of the US' cancellation of the visa of his close ally Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, the former chief implementer of the Philippines’ war on drugs, which had earned criticism from some American legislators over alleged human rights abuses.
A former colony of the US, the Philippines, under Duterte, warned the US against meddling with the local judicial system after the US Senate backed the proposal to impose sanctions against Filipino officials involved in the imprisonment of opposition Senator Leila De Lima.
An amendment to the US budget law, meanwhile, denies US entry to those involved in De Lima’s continued detention.
“I counter that, if you do this, then I will not allow the Americans to enter the Philippines without a visa,” Duterte said. “As of now they come and enter as if they own the place.”
Since assuming the presidency in June 2016, Duterte’s foreign policy has so far been marked with increased engagements with Russia and China, two nations with economic and military rivalries with the US.
“America is not the Philippines and the Philippines is not America. It ain’t that way anymore. And I refuse to dovetail under American foreign policy,” he said. —NB, GMA News