Duterte says Chinese official asked him to align with China

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte claimed on Sunday that a Chinese official has suggested that he align himself with China because the Philippines cannot expect anything from the United States.
“Ito namang China sabi niya, ‘lumipat ka na sa amin wala kayong makukuha diyan (Shift your alliance to us. You won’t gain anything from them),” Duterte said during the opening of the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City.
“I’m going to China to make friends with them and also with Russia,” he added.
Duterte did not identify the Chinese official he was quoting. Before making the remark, the president was talking about his meeting with Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meet in Laos last month. 
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was present during the ASEAN meet but it was unclear whether he was the Chinese official Duterte was referring to.
The president said he had confided to Medvedev that he was being criticized by the US because of his crackdown on illegal drugs.
“I met with Medvedev. I’m revealing it to you now. Nakiusap ako na ganito ang sitwasyon. Pinahihirapan ako nito at binababoy ako ng mga walanghiya (I told him that the situation was like this. They are making it hard for me and they are shamelessly bastardizing me),” Duterte said.
“Sabi niya ganun talaga Amerika, so istorya kami. ‘Sige tulungan ka namin,’ (He said America is like that. We will help you),” he added.

'Putin, Xi will be my close friends'

Duterte reiterated that he would seek stronger ties with China and Russia, countries widely perceived to be rivals of the US.
“Tomorrow, (Russia president Vladimir) Putin and (China president) Xi Jinping will be my close friends,” he said in jest.
The Philippine leader said he is not afraid if his policy pronouncements would turn off US investors.
“You said you would take away your dollars. Go ahead take them away,” he added.
The US has not said that it would do that. Last month, credit rating firm Standard and Poor's retained its credit rating of the Philippines of 'BBB', a notch above investment grade with a ‘stable’ outlook. It also noted, however, that there are "rising uncertainties surrounding the stability, predictability, and accountability of [the Philippines'] new government." 
He has previously said that he can go to China and Russia for investments and alliances. He said are "waiting" for him.
The US, a long-time ally and treaty partner of the Philippines, has called out the Duterte administration for the alleged extrajudicial killings linked to the government’s anti-drug war.
The remarks drew the ire of Duterte who viewed them as undue interference with the Philippines’ internal affairs.
The president has threatened to put an end to joint military exercises of Filipino and American troops within his term. He has also bared plans to review the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a 2014 deal that grants Americans access to Philippine military bases.
Despite his tough talk, Duterte had said he would not cut ties with the US.
“We are not going to cut our umbilical cord with the countries we are allied with,” Duterte said last month.
“But certainly, we will follow an independent posture and independent foreign policy.”
Duterte admitted though that Filipinos may have to sacrifice once the dynamics of the relationship between the Philippines and the US change.
“I am asking the Filipino in the coming days, kung totohanin talaga ng Amerika, I’m going to ask you to sacrifice a little bit, but by next year, I would have entered alliances with so many countries,” Duterte said in a speech in Pampanga last Sept. 27. 


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