United States official to Yasay: Duterte tirades stir 'consternation'

Duterte’s personal game could lead to choppier waters for Asean

It's the only way. "It's in the best interests of my country that I don't do that", Duterte said in his hometown of Davao.

The business leader pointed out that both military and economic ties are bounded by agreements, contracts, and treaty alliances among others.

Reuters picMANILA, Oct 23 ― Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed hope today that fishermen would be able to return to the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea in the next few days. Duterte should seek "feedback" from Filipinos, he said.

"The president did not talk about separation", Philippine Trade Minister Ramon Lopez told CNN in Beijing today. He said the Philippines was "breaking being too much dependent on one side".

"But we definitely won't stop the trade and investment activities with the West, specifically the U.S".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte faces a political test at home as he expects legislators, Cabinet members and the public to accept his controversial proposals for switching allegiance from the country's historic benefactor the United States to a less familiar China.

A Philippine foreign affairs official said Russel and Yasay will discuss the overall bilateral relations of the two allies following Duterte's "separation" statement in China last week.

Duterte travels to Japan on Tuesday.

Duterte personally insulted President Obama in September when he called him a "son of a whore".

His comments sent a shudder through industries that rely heavily on the US market, particularly the big business of handling call center work and other tasks for American companies. The US embassy press attache in Manila, Molly Koscina, said Duterte's statements were creating uncertainty.

Duterte has said he did not want to embroil the Philippines in an unwinnable war with China, which could instead be tapped as a major trading partner and source of development funds.

Nevertheless, Duterte launched another tirade against the United States for criticising his war on crime, which has left more than 3,600 people dead and raised fears about extrajudicial killings.

"Yes, of course, we did (bring up the issue)".

"But based on what you've read me that seems to be a change in tone that is more consistent with the seven decade-long alliance between the United States and the Philippines".

Duterte's explanation mirrored an earlier statement issued by Malacañang where Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said, "It is a reinstatement of his position on charting an independent foreign policy as provided in the Philippine Constitution".

He stressed that it is simply a mistake to think that improved relations between Manila and Beijing somehow come at the expense of the US. We discussed how to help each other.



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