Duterte changes tune with praise for US allies
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte voiced rare praise for the US on Thursday, calling it an important security ally, and dismissing historic grievances and his slew of past tirades against Washington as “water under the bridge.”
Duterte’s anti-American outbursts have become notorious and baffling concerning one of Washington’s closest Asian allies since the nation gained independence from the US in 1946.
He was speaking on the 116th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles in the American-Philippines war on the central island of Samar.
Last year, at his first international summit in Laos, Duterte stunned regional leaders when he showed them pictures of that massacre.
Then US president Barack Obama canceled a bilateral meeting there with Duterte, who had called him a “son of a bitch” days earlier for expressing concern about his bloody war on drugs.
On Thursday, Duterte said he had been advised to tone down his anti-American rhetoric and had positive words for the US military, with which he has repeatedly threatened to sever ties, besides accusing it of supplying ineffective combat hardware and of making the Philippines a potential target for war.