MANILA (ChurchMilitant.com) - The president of the Philippines announced Thursday the country will break economic and military ties with the United States, while allying itself with China and possibly Russia.
"Your stay in my country was for your own benefit," recently elected president Rodrigo Duterte said, referring to the United States. "So time to say goodbye, my friend.
"I will not go to America anymore. I will just be insulted there," he added.
Duterte made the announcement Wednesday in a speech in Beijing. Among a slew of expletives, he accused the United States of arrogance by imposing its policies on other nations, including the Philippines.
"In this venue, I announce my separation from the United States both in the military — not maybe social, but economics also," Duterte declared. "America has lost."
His announcement was followed by a standing ovation from businessmen at the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum. He went on to declare his alliance with China and possibly Russia.
"I have separated from them so I will be dependent on you (China) for a long time, but don't worry, we will also help," he commented.
"I've realigned myself in your ideological flow," Duterte continued. "And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way."
Relations have deteriorated between the United States and its longtime trading partner after the Obama administration expressed concerns over Duterte's extrajudicial killings of gang members and drug lords — killings that have resulted in a death toll so far of more 2,400 and counting. China, on the other hand, has praised Duterte's vigilante killings.
At a news conference in Laos in September, asked to comment on the American president, Duterte called Obama a "son of a b****h."
Earlier this month Duterte unexpectedly announced a revised foreign policy, no longer permitting his military to conduct joint military exercises with American troops, contrary to the terms of a defense treaty signed by both nations.
After Duterte's announcement cutting ties to the United States, Philippines Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia released a joint statement clarifying his remarks.
"The president just gave a very important speech. The Cabinet will move strongly and swiftly towards regional economic integration," it stated.
"We will maintain relations with the West," it explained, "but we desire stronger integration with our neighbors. We share the culture and a better understanding with our region."
The White House has clarified there has been no formal break yet between the two countries.
"We have not received any official requests from Filipino officials to alter any of our many issues where we bilaterally cooperate," White House spokesman Eric Schultz told media Thursday morning at a press briefing.