Washington [US]: The United States has said that it will seek an explanation from Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte over the latter’s comments on ‘separation’ from Washington.
US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in a press briefing, “We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from the U.S. It’s not clear to us exactly what that means in all its ramifications, so we’re going to be seeking a clarification on that.”
Duterte, while on his state visit to China, had announced his military and economic “separation” from the United States, though he did not divulge the details.
Responding to the Philippines President’s remarks Kirby said, “Obviously we’re aware of this rhetoric, of course, and we still hold that it is inexplicably at odds with the very close relationship that we have with the Filipino people as well as the government there on many different levels – not just from a security perspective.”
He said that Assistant Secretary Daniel R. Russel will visit the Philippines, this weekend, however, adding, “This trip was long-scheduled; I don’t want to give any impression that it was thrown on as a result of recent comments or activities. It was something he’s been planning for months, but it does give us an opportunity in the context of these comments to try to get a better explanation of what was meant by ‘separation’ and where that’s going.”
He added that Washington remains rock-solid on its commitment in the mutual defense treaty with the Philippines. That hasn’t changed even after Duterte’s rhetoric.
Kirby added that the US welcomes the improved relations between China and the Philippines as thought otherwise by President Duterte.
“We don’t see that as a threat, we don’t see that as unwelcome, we don’t see that as counterproductive. Actually quite the opposite; we think that improved relations between him and his neighbors, be that China or other countries, are all to the good, all to the good for stability in the region,” said Kirby. (ANI)