Ex-Philip­pine leader re­signs as Duterte’s China en­voy

The Myanmar Times - - World -

FOR­MER Philip­pine leader Fidel Ramos has re­signed as spe­cial en­voy to China af­ter crit­i­cis­ing Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s tirades against the US and his deadly war on crime.

Mr Duterte said he had re­ceived a res­ig­na­tion let­ter from Mr Ramos, an elderly stal­wart of Philip­pine pol­i­tics who had been a trusted ally of the new leader but re­cently branded his rule as a “huge dis­ap­point­ment and let-down”.

Ac­cord­ing to the pres­i­dent, the pair had dis­agreed on US re­la­tions and the do­mes­tic crime war, which has claimed more than 4000 lives in four months.

Mr Duterte ap­pointed Mr Ramos, pres­i­dent from 1992 to 1998, as his en­voy to mend re­la­tions with Beijing, which had soured un­der the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion over com­pet­ing ter­ri­to­rial claims to the South China Sea.

Mr Ramos, 88, trav­elled to Hong Kong in Au­gust on an “ice­breaker” trip to meet with se­nior Chi­nese of­fi­cials but he did not join Mr Duterte in Beijing last month for a state visit that ce­mented ties and se­cured bil­lions of dol­lars in Chi­nese in­vest­ments and loans.

Mr Ramos told GMA7 tele­vi­sion this week he had re­signed be­cause he had done what was needed to im­prove ties with China.

But Mr Duterte’s com­ments pointed to a much deeper fall­ing out with Mr Ramos, who he had re­peat­edly pub­licly thanked for sup­port­ing his bid to be­come pres­i­dent.

Mr Ramos has in re­cent weeks been openly crit­i­cal of Mr Duterte’s at­tacks on the US and threats to end the two na­tions’ mil­i­tary al­liance.

“So, what gives? Are we throw­ing away decades of mil­i­tary part­ner­ship, tac­ti­cal pro­fi­ciency, com­pat­i­ble weaponry, pre­dictable lo­gis­tics and sol­dierto-sol­dier ca­ma­raderie just like that,” Mr Ramos wrote in a news­pa­per col­umn to mark Mr Duterte’s 100th day in of­fice.

Mr Ramos has also been one of the few promi­nent po­lit­i­cal fig­ures to di­rectly crit­i­cise Mr Duterte’s anti-drugs crack­down. –

Photo: AFP

Fidel Ramos is hugely dis­ap­pointed with Pres­i­dent Duterte.

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