Duterte wants wider ties with China, Russia, to “cross the Rubicon” with the US
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would open up alliances with China and Russia, as he did not care even if American investors would leave the Philippines.
"Never mind about the (Standard and Poor’s credit) ratings. I will open up the Philippines for them (China, Japan, Russia) to do business, alliances of trade and commerce. There will never be a time about military alliances. If America wants to go to war about the China Sea, he can have his day," he said.
This, as Duterte described the ties between the Philippines and United States at least under his administration as "about to cross the Rubicon."
"I’m about to cross the Rubicon between me and the United States. At least for the six years," Duterte said.
Asked by a reporter what he meant by "cross the rubicon," Duterte said, "it is the point of no return."
While the Philippines and the US have a Mutual Defense Treaty, he explained even if the agreement states an attack on the Philippines would be an attack to the US, under the American Constitution before its president could declare war with any body in defense of an ally, he has to seek first permission from Congress.
"That’s the problem. So if Congress will not give him that authority, what will happen to us? America is, I said, it does not know what the left hand is?the right hand is doing," he said.
Duterte earlier said he wants his government to pursue an independent foreign policy.
He even ordered the military not to conduct a joint patrol with the US in the disputed South China Sea, noting if war breaks out in that part of the sea, he did not want the Philippines to be dragged into it.
"Actually I said I'm ready to, not really break ties (with US), but we will open up alliances with China," he said, adding his "good talk" with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the sidelines of a regional summit in Laos early this month.
Duterte was supposed to have a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama in the same summit, but Obama cancelled it.
He bared that he would visit China, Japan and Russia soon.
He also said he did not care if American businessmen leave the country.
"Withdraw your investments, go ahead. Be my guest. I will tell my countrymen I am responsible, bear with me but I will make the correction right away. I will open up for the other side of the ideological barrier?China, Russia, come," he said.
He cited some sectors he would open up to foreigners, such as telecommunications, airlines, shipping, and lands. He said he would even allow foreigners to lease land for 60 years and could be extended for another 60 years.
"You want land? 60 years, plus another 60 years. That is like a lifetime, more than...things would then change, maybe for the better," he added. Celerina Monte DMS