Duterte says foreign policy “gears now” towards China
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday Philippine foreign policy now “gears now”: towards China, with "no more interference" from the United States.
In his speech before the Filipino community in China where he is on a four-day state visit, Duterte said his administration would welcome China's any offer of assistance.
He is set to meet President Xi Jinping Thursday in the first official contact between the two countries since Chinese ships entered Scarborough in 2012, forcing the Philippines later to file a complaint before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Netherlands.
In July, the court said China has no basis for claiming nearly all of the South China Sea. However, China said it will not follow this ruling. Rather than confront China about this, Duterte has chosen to start talks with Beijing which have been on the backburner for years.
"The foreign policy gears now towards here (China). I will not ask, but if they offer, and if they'll ask me, you need this aid? Of course, we are, we are very poor," he said.
He said the Philippines would be willing to secure soft loans from China for certain projects, such as railways.
"I will not go to America anymore. We're just being insulted there," he said.
Duterte said his administration will now "realign" and there is "no reason" for the Philippines to get arms from the US.
He said if big countries would go into nuclear war, there would be nothing to talk about, "except to see you in heaven."
"It will simply create a big bang again and maybe another universe to emerge," he said.
"I will not ask for arm...for what, rebellion? You cannot kill your own people. We have to talk. If they (rebels) don't want to talk, we force them to talk. That's the only way to solve it. We cannot forever be fighting," he said.
Duterte again slammed US for criticizing his administration on the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
Assuming the extrajudicial killings were true, he said it was not comparable to the "shuttered nation of the Middle East," including those hospitals, schools, and nurseries, which were bombarded by American troops.
"We failed in comparison with the atrocity," he said, citing also the shooting of the black people in America.
"So what's the difference? Why nobody is complaining about you? Whether that's disparity because you have power," he said.
He said if there will be Filipinos who would be sentenced to death in China due to illegal drugs, he would not seek any clemency.
"I will be frank with them. I'll tell China, for as long as it's drug (case) and the penalty is death, it's up to you," he said.
Duterte has declared an all-out war against illegal drugs. DMS
Duterte said his bilateral talks with Xi will be "regarding shared mutual benefits and other issues that are of importance to the regional peace and security particularly the Southeast Asia."
"We have identified broad outlines. There can be no specific agreements at this time," he said.
Duterte arrived in Beijing Tuesday night from his state visit in Brunei, is on a four-day state visit also to China on the invitation of Xi. Celerina Monte/DMS