Duterte says no change in foreign policy, particularly with US
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday there will be no change in his foreign policy, particularly with the United States.
In an interview with reporters after he arrived from a two-day trip to Malaysia, Duterte said his government's relationship with other countries is primarily based on its interest.
"I will pursue what I've started. I'm not into the habit of reneging on my word," Duterte said.
Duterte had congratulated US President-elect Donald Trump as he cited that they have in common, which is cursing publicly.
He added the relationship between Washington and Manila will remain "as is."
"We are friends...an ally," Duterte said, citing the 1951 Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty. "That would bind us in the matter of saying whether or not you side with this or that."
"And my partnership with China and the rest of the ASEAN remains. I will sail the state of the nation, and it should be pushed by the wind of self-interest only. The self-interest of our nation," Duterte said.
Duterte earlier said the Philippines would separate from the US in terms of commerce and military and would rely on other countries, such as China and Russia, for commerce and trade.
Asked if he was comfortable when people compare him with Trump, Duterte said he is "just a small molecule in this planet" while Trump is the president of the most powerful country in the world.
But he said he and Trump share in common which is the "passion to serve."
"But I do not foresee any war in the next 100 years. So we will maintain our cooperation. The committee, the respect should be there and in all matters that would affect our two countries, especially the treaties that we signed, with them, in the so many agreements. It will be honored, all of these things," Duterte said.
Duterte said he would not continue with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with US. But those activities under EDCA, which are firmed up, he said would continue in deference to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
"I was already vocal against it. But in deference to the Secretary of Defense, I said, okay, but this will be the last time. And I expect that by the time I end my term, I do not want to see any, any, not only US, even African or Chinese or whatever...I do not want to see foreign military troops in my country," Duterte said.
He said the Filipino soldiers do not need anybody to train them.
"By themselves, they are warriors and capable of a conventional war...I do not expect any war against any other nation," he said.
Duterte said what he only projects is the war against terrorism and drugs.
He added that in every military exercise, it is always America who learns much and only little for the Filipinos. Celerina Monte/DMS