‘Long live Trump’ Duterte wants no more quar­rels with US

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte con­grat­u­lated Don­ald Trump on his elec­tion win and said yes­ter­day he now wished to stop quar­relling with ally the United States, re­call­ing his anger at the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion for crit­i­ciz­ing him. The mav­er­ick leader, dubbed “Trump of the East” for his un­re­strained rants and oc­ca­sional lewd re­marks, has re­peat­edly hit out at Wash­ing­ton in re­cent months, threat­en­ing to cut de­fense pacts and end mil­i­tary joint drills. “I would like to con­grat­u­late Mr Don­ald Trump. Long live,” Duterte said in a speech to the Filipino com­mu­nity dur­ing a visit to Malaysia. “We are both mak­ing curses. Even with triv­ial mat­ters we curse. I was sup­posed to stop be­cause Trump is there. I don’t want to quar­rel any­more, be­cause Trump has won.”

Duterte won a May elec­tion by a huge mar­gin and is of­ten com­pared to Trump, hav­ing him­self been the al­ter­na­tive can­di­date from out­side of na­tional pol­i­tics. He cam­paigned on a pop­ulist, anti-estab­lish­ment plat­form and struck a chord among or­di­nary Filipinos with his prom­ises to fix what he called a bro­ken coun­try. But the big­gest sur­prise of Duterte’s pres­i­dency so far has been his hos­til­ity to­wards the United States, shown dur­ing near-daily erup­tions of anger over its con­cerns about hu­man rights abuses dur­ing his deadly war on drugs. He has also threat­ened re­peat­edly to se­vere a mil­i­tary re­la­tion­ship that has been a key el­e­ment of Wash­ing­ton’s “pivot” to Asia.

Duterte on Wed­nes­day told Filipinos how an­gry he had been at Wash­ing­ton, say­ing it had threat­ened to cut off aid and had treated the Philippines like a dog tied to a post. “They talk as if we are still the colonies,” he said. “You do not give us the aid, shit, to hell with you,” he said, re­call­ing com­ments he had directed at Obama. Teddy Loc­sin Jr, Duterte’s in­com­ing am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, said there were a few par­al­lels be­tween Trump, who stunned the world by de­feat­ing ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton in Tues­day’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, and Duterte. “I re­mem­ber Trump in the mid­dle of one of his state­ments, he said ‘I will not talk like this af­ter I be­come pres­i­dent’,” Loc­sin said on TV. “I re­mem­ber some­one who also said the same thing.” —Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: Philip­pine’s Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte (cen­ter) leaves af­ter meet­ing with Philip­pine na­tion­als liv­ing in Malaysia dur­ing an of­fi­cial visit in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day. Duterte is on his first of­fi­cial visit to Malaysia. —AFP

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