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‘I announce my separation from the US’ -- Duterte

Posted on October 21, 2016

BEIJING -- Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced his “separation” from the United States on Thursday, declaring that it had “lost” and he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks.

President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony in Beijing in this Oct. 20 photo. -- AFP
Mr. Duterte made his comments in China, where he is visiting with at least 200 business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with longtime ally the United States deteriorate.

His Trade secretary, Ramon M. Lopez, said $13.5 billion in deals would be signed.

Mr. Duterte’s efforts to engage China -- months after a tribunal ruling in the Hague over South China Sea disputes in favor of the Philippines -- marks a reversal in foreign policy since the 71-year-old former mayor took office on June 30.

“America has lost now,” Mr. Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people at a forum in the Great Hall of the People, attended by Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli.

“I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world -- China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way,” Mr. Duterte added.

“With that, in this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States,” he said to applause.

“I have separated from them. So I will be dependent on you for all time,” he added.

“But do not worry. We will also help as you help us.”

China has pulled out all the stops to welcome Mr. Duterte, including a marching band complete with batton-twirling band master at his official welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People, which most leaders do not get. -- Reuters