“He says a lot of controversial things publicly. I think people have now come to understand that many of the things he says are not really, he doesn’t mean (it in a literal sense),” US Ambassador Sung Kim said in an interview with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News on Friday night.
US Embassy FB Page
Duterte has wicked sense of humor – US envoy
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Even with President Duterte’s recurring outburst against the United States since he assumed office in 2016, US Ambassador Sung Kim said he enjoys meeting with the Chief Executive, describing him as someone with a “wicked sense of humor.”

“He says a lot of controversial things publicly. I think people have now come to understand that many of the things he says are not really, he doesn’t mean (it in a literal sense),” Kim said in an interview with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News on Friday night.

“I actually enjoy meeting with him… He has a pretty wicked sense of humor,” he added.

The ambassador categorically denied claims that the US government, particularly its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is engaged in a plot to undermine the Duterte administration.

“In fact, we’re doing everything possible, including the intelligence services such as the CIA, we’re doing everything possible to find a way to have a productive and constructive relationship with President Duterte and his government,” he said.

“The Philippines has a vibrant democracy. Filipino people chose President Duterte to be their leader and he remains a very popular leader. It’s quite impressive that he has maintained his high approval ratings three years into his tenure. And it means a lot. That means we have to find a way to work with him,” he added.

Military equipment

Citing the strong alliance of the Philippines and the US, Kim reiterated his government’s support for the modernization efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“We take that responsibility very seriously because we want our partners to have a very capable military. We have tremendous respect to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and our military needs tremendous equipment to function effectively,” he said.

“We will continue to make our equipment available to the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the ambassador added.

Amid Duterte’s repeated pronouncements that he would purchase military equipment from other countries such as Russia, the US ambassador maintained that they offer the best possible equipment for the Philippine military.

“Inter-operability is a huge factor and the military’s ability to function effectively,” he said.

“Given that we have such a tight partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, I think it makes a lot of sense for the (AFP) to continue to use US equipment. Frankly, they only know US equipment,” Kim said.

US respects Duterte’s push for an independent foreign policy, according to the ambassador, saying every nation should look at their interests and decide how best to advance their country’s interests.

Human rights

On the recent call of some independent experts of the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate alleged human rights violations in the Philippines, Kim said it is up to the Philippine government to respond to the matter.

But he said the US concerns on the human rights situation in the country are well-documented in its annual human rights reports.

Citing media reports, Kim noted an improving situation, particularly with the decline in the incidents of extrajudicial killings.

“Our two countries have a long tradition of shared values and principles, including human rights. So, I’m hoping that the situation will continue to improve on the human rights front,” he said.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES HUMAN RIGHTS SUNG KIM
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with