Philippine leader tells Obama to ‘ go to hell’
> Duterte hints at severing ties with US ‘in my time’
MANILA: Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday told US President Barack Obama to “go to hell” and said the US had refused to sell some weapons to his country but he did not care because Russia and China were willing suppliers.
In his latest salvo, Duterte said he was realigning his foreign policy because the US had failed the Philippines and added that at some point, “I will break up with America”. It was not clear what he meant by “break up”.
During three tangential and fiercely worded speeches in Manila, Duterte said the US did not want to sell missiles and other weapons, but Russia and China had told him they could provide them easily.
“If you don’t want to sell arms, I’ll go to Russia. I sent the generals to Russia and Russia said ‘do not worry, we have everything you need, we’ll give it to you’.
“And as for China, they said ‘just come over and sign and everything will be delivered’,” he said.
His comments were the latest in a neardaily barrage of hostility towards the US, during which Duterte has started to contrast the former colonial power with its geopolitical rivals Russia and China.
In Washington, US officials downplayed Duterte’s comments, saying they were “at odds” with the two countries’ warm relationship and decades-long alliance.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there has been no communication from the Philippines about making changes in that relationship.
Earnest did not, however, back down from criticism of Duterte’s tactics in his deadly war on drugs.
On Sunday, Duterte said he had received support from Russia and China when he complained to them about the US.
He said the US should have supported the Philippines in tackling its chronic drugs problems but that instead it had criticised him for the high death toll, as did the EU.
“Instead of helping us, the first to hit was the State Department. So you can go to hell, Mr Obama, you can go to hell,” he said.
“EU, better choose purgatory. Hell is full already. Why should I be afraid of you?”
At a later speech he said he was emotional because the US had not been a friend of the Philippines since his election in May.
“They just ... reprimand another president in front of the international community,” he told the Jewish community at a synagogue.
“This is what happens now, I will be reconfiguring my foreign policy. Eventually, I might in my time, break up with America.”
It was not clear if by his “time”, he was referring to his six-year office term. – Reuters
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