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Yasay: Duterte open to better relationships with China, Russia

Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said President Duterte is open to better engagements with China and Russia. Philstar.com/Aaron Favila, file

MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte is open to engaging more closely with China and Russia in pursuing the administration's new foreign policy, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said on Tuesday.

"Ang sinasabi ni presidente, sa pagkakaintindi ko, is that kung may ino-offer ang mga bansa... na ibang bansa kagaya ng Tsina or Russia, insofar as, let's say, engaging our country with trade relationship, and such other engagement or assistance that they are willing to offer, we should not be arrogant to reject it," Yasay said at a press briefing in Malacañang.

Reacting to an assessment by credit rater Standard and Poor's that predictability of policymaking has slightly diminished under the Duterte administration, the president retorted that investors can leave and he will talk with Russia and China instead.

READ: Duterte on S&P rating: China, Russia waiting for me

"You may have something there that we need. I will open trade alliances with Russia and China," Duterte said in a different speech.

According to Yasay, there have been no formal talks yet and that Duterte is just opening up possibilities that will still be subject to negotiations.

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"The important thing is, kung ano mang desisyon natin, it will be in the paramount national interest," Yasay said.

READ: Duterte's 'cross the Rubicon' remark does not equate to cutting US ties, says Yasay

On Monday, Duterte said that he is nearing the point of no return in relations with the US, which has been critical of allegations of summary killings in relation to the government's war on drugs.

"I will open up doon sa kabilang side of the ideological barrier—China, Russia, come. I will open telecommunications, lahat, airlines. Wala, may kapital kayo? You want to put up an airline here? Shipping here? You want lands? 60 years, plus another 60 years, that is like a lifetime, more than. After 60 years hindi mo na kailangan ‘yang factory mo, pati lupa mo diyan. Things would then change, maybe for the better," he said.

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