The relationship between the US and Philippines has been on the rocks for a while now. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced Thursday that the country will now be aligned with China.
China and the Philippines have recently had discussions about how to resolve the South China Sea dispute. Duterte made this statement while he was on a visit to Beijing, where he met 200 business people about the new commercial alliance with China.
Apparently, the meeting went well because after the Philippines president announced a “separation” from the US.
“In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States,” said Duterte at a forum in the Great Hall of the People. “Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.” Later announcements indicate this may not be such a hard separation, however its clear the U.S. has lost substantial influence in the region.
“Duterte’s efforts to engage China, months after a tribunal in the Hague ruled that Beijing did not have historic rights to the South China Sea in a case brought by the previous administration in Manila, marks a reversal in foreign policy since the 71-year-old former mayor took office on June 30,” writes Newsmax.
According to the Philippines trade secretary, Ramon Lopez the country would be signing up to $13.5 billion in deals during this trip to China.
Duterte also plans to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin, distancing the country even further from the US.
“I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way,” said Duterte.
Duterte’s predecessor granted the U.S. forces access to bases in the Philippines, but it’s not likely this agreement will still be allowed by Duterte.
However, the White House seems to be in denial over how the Philippines and US relationship is deteriorating.
“The U.S.-Philippines alliance is built on a 70-year history, rich people-to-people ties, including a vibrant Filipino-American diaspora, and a long list of shared security interests,” said Ned Price, White House spokesman. “We also remain one of the Philippines’ strongest economic partners; the current stock of U.S. foreign direct investment stands above $4.7 billion.”
Although Duterte made himself explicitly clear about how he feels about the U.S., his top economic policymakers issued a statement about how the country wasn’t turning its back on the west.
“We will maintain relations with the West but we desire stronger integration with our neighbours,” said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia in a joint statement. “We share the culture and a better understanding with our region.”
So will the U.S. be able to reconcile the relationship with the Philippines?
As long as Duterte is president, not likely. Duterte has been outspoken in disapproval of the criticism Obama has given him on his war against wars. He has called Obama a “son of a bitch” and has told him to “go to hell.”
“I will not go to America anymore. We will just be insulted there,” said Duterte. “So time to say goodbye my friend.”
While, China gave him a red carpet welcome. “I hope we can follow the wishes of the people and use this visit as an opportunity to push China-Philippines relations back on a friendly footing and fully improve things,” said President Xi Jinping.
Author’s note: This is a huge problem for the U.S. We have already lost our bases in the Philippines, however up until this point, we have had good relations with the Philippines as an ally. If we lose this status, it will be a huge disadvantage in any future military engagement in the Pacific.
Editor’s note: The Obama administration has been condescending to this ally and others (notably Israel), its a wonder we have any left.