THE Philippines has summoned United States Ambassador Sung Y. Kim on the latest Worldwide Threat Assessment report of the US intelligence community that listed President Rodrigo R. Duterte as “a threat to democracy in Southeast Asia.”
In a statement on Friday afternoon, Feb. 23, Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque said: “Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea summoned United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim yesterday, February 22, where they discussed the latest US Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment report.”
Mr. Medialdea, according to Mr. Roque, “instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through our Philippine embassy in Washington D.C., to coordinate and engage with the US agencies involved in the writing of the assessment.”
“ES Medialdea further directed our embassy officials and staff in the US to provide the latter accurate information on the realities happening on the ground in the Philippines, including the actions taken by the President and his administration to promote socioeconomic development for the country and provide a safe and secure environment for all Filipinos, respecting at all times the rule of law,” the spokesman added.
The Feb. 13 report, bylined by National Intelligence director Daniel R. Coats, places Mr. Duterte alongside Cambodian’s Hun Sen, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, and Thailand’s military-backed constitution as “regional threats to democracy.”
The report likewise said that Southeast Asian countries “will struggle to preserve foreign policy autonomy in the face of Chinese economic and diplomatic coercion.” — Arjay L. Balinbin