Published: Sun, October 30, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

United States wants to keep alliance with Philippines: Pentagon chief

He told Chinese and Philippine business people at a forum in the Great Hall of the People that America had "lost now".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told an audience of Chinese and Filipino officials and businessmen that he's announcing his "separation from the United States", a longtime ally.

After Duterte's speech, top policy makers in his administration released a statement saying it was long past time to integrate Asian economic policy with Philippine affairs, but that didn't mean the country was abandoning its relationship with the U.S.

But on Monday, the Philippine Secretary of Trade and Ministry Ramon Lopez told the BBC the Philippines would not be stopping trade and investments with the U.S.

Chuckling as he spoke, Duterte said that now he was separate from the United States, he would also be dependent on China for a long time.

A senior Chinese diplomat says his country and the Philippines have agreed to resume a bilateral dialogue on their dispute over the South China Sea, in what appears to be a diplomatic victory for Beijing several months after being handed a defeat by an global tribunal.

There was no mention of the arbitration ruling or Duterte's call for China to respect the rights of Filipinos to fish in the disputed Scarborough Shoal, where Beijing's coast guard ships continue to block and drive them away.

USA attempts to raise questions about Duterte's campaign against drugs, in which more than 3,000 people have been killed since he took office in June, have drawn angry denunciations by Duterte.

Duterte has also launched a hardline war on drugs in the Philippines, which has killed more than 2,000 drug users, dealers, and innocent civilians in a few short months.

Heydarian says Duterte is "dramatic" about the USA because of "personal irritation", following their criticism of his war on drugs and his remarks on President Barack Obama and Ambassador Philip Goldberg.

"I announce my separation from the United States", Duterte said.

The Philippine and Chinese governments signed a series of agreements aimed at boosting relations that have been strained by a longstanding dispute over boundary rights along the South China Sea.

With relations souring further, the senior USA diplomat for Asia, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, was due to visit Manila this weekend on what the State Department said was a previously scheduled trip.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a press conference in Beijing on October 19, 2016.

He also repeated his denunciation of Obama as a "son of a whore".

However, a Rappler report indicates that Presidential Communications Office (PCO) assistant secretary Marie Banaag could only say, "We should not make any interpretations yet and it can wait".

"When you say severance of ties, you cut the diplomatic relations".

The United States has said that it will seek an explanation from Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte over the latter's comments on "separation" from Washington.

"I think for the U.S. to just blast him constantly is probably not very effective".

For months, Washington has played down Duterte's anti-American insults and broadsides. "Even as we arrive in Beijing, close to winter, this is a springtime of our relationship", he added.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Washington meant to keep to its alliance commitments to the Philippines.

During Duterte's state visit to China, 13 bilateral deals covering trade, investment, tourism, crime, and drug prohibition were signed.

A Japanese Embassy official in Manila said Japan was keen to hear Duterte's explanation about his new foreign policy when he pays a three-day visit to Japan starting on Tuesday.

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