By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is expected to hold talks with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo this Thursday to discuss “mutually beneficial” issues to both countries.
Pompeo is scheduled to visit the country from February 28 to March 1. He will be coming from Vietnam where the second summit of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be held.
“I’m sure there will be talks between their government and our government with respect to our relations,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters at the Palace.
“Any subject matter that is mutually beneficial to both countries will be discussed or any matter for the Secretary to raise,” he added.
Asked about the agenda of the meeting, Panelo said the mutual concerns include issues on security and terrorism.
The upcoming visit of Pompeo comes after President Duterte announced plans to acquire
military equipment from Israel and South Korea instead of its longtime traditional ally United States to enhance its defense arsenal.
The President said he would no longer buy arms from the US after frowning on Washington’s threat to sanction countries engaging trade with China or Russia.
He also recalled receiving a letter signed by Pompeo, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking him to reconsider his decision on the purchase of defense equipment. Duterte however made clear that he was not angry with the United States, recalling that it made the first move when the past Obama administration criticized his war on illegal drugs.
The President, in his recent visit to Cebu City, said it was only now that the United States was supporting the war on illegal drugs.
“America says she is supporting us. They never really supported us. The headline sa Bulletin, US backs…” Back up daw sa — backs the drug war sa Pilipinas. Just now after it was…,” he said.
“That is why I cursed their President. In a press briefing, Obama, the son of a… Extrajudicial killing eh it was during a press conference. If he wasn’t such a fool. Sinabi ko son of a b****, you go to hell,” he said.