Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took back his wish of cutting ties with the U.S. Friday, saying it’s in the country’s best interest to maintain diplomatic relations.
The outspoken Duterte received standing ovations when he announced his “separation” from the U.S. Thursday during a conference in China. “It’s about time to say: Goodbye, my friend. Your stay in my country was for your own benefit,” Duterte said. (RELATED: Duterte Announces ‘Separation From America’)
But it didn’t take long for Duterte to realize what the consequences of such a separation could lead to, as he quickly vowed to maintain diplomatic relations with U.S. He clarified that the “separation” he spoke of had to do more with American foreign policy.
“It is not severance of ties,” he said according to Reuters. “When you say severance of ties, you cut diplomatic relations. I cannot do that. It’s in the best interest of my countrymen to maintain that relationship.”
Duterte, who was elected president in June, got off to a rocky start with U.S. President Barack Obama. He has repeatedly insulted Obama for his criticism of the ongoing war on drugs in the Philippines, which has claimed thousands of lives during the past three months.
The Philippines have served as a strategic partner that facilitates American forward deployment in the Asia Pacific region.
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