By Argyll Geducos
President Duterte said he will not live by the foreign policy of the Americans as he slammed the United States for treating the Philippines as a vassal state and refusing to respect its sovereignty.
In an interview with RT, a Russian international TV network funded by the Russian government, Duterte said the U.S. should stop treating the Philippines as a backward country.
“It should be the U.S. who should learn from us. Because they think we are a backward country, that we are in the medieval times, that we are incapable of dispensing justice,” he said in the interview aired Friday.
“America is not the Philippines and the Philippines is not America. It ain’t that way anymore and I refuse to dovetail [knuckle] under American foreign policy,” he added.
After assuming the presidency in 2016, Duterte steered the country’s foreign policy towards China and Russia. In the interview, Duterte said there was nothing that the two countries have that America does not except for respect.
“America continues to look us as a vassal state because we were under the Americans for 50 years and they lived off the fat of the land before we got our independence,” the President said.
“So if I cannot get a credible posture from the Americans, I can get it from the Russians and the Chinese government. It’s because they respect the sovereignty of the country [in] which America is totally, totally lacking. It’s not only the Philippines, it’s all over the world. They do not respect sovereignty.”
Duterte recently declined U.S. President Donald Trump’s invitation for him to go Las Vegas for the U.S.-ASEAN Summit on March 14 following the cancellation of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa’s U.S. visa.
President Duterte initially threatened to terminate the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) if the U.S. would fail to rectify the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa, but Malacañang said Friday that the President ordered the government to start the process of terminating the treaty immediately.
Trump’s invitation to Duterte and the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa came after Trump signed the law containing the controversial provision banning the entry into the U.S. of Filipino government officials deemed behind the arrest and continued detention of Sen. de Lima.
In response to the travel ban provision, Duterte ordered that its authors, U.S. senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy, be banned from entering the Philippines. On Thursday, Duterte said that all U.S. senators who approved the resolution at the committee level would also be prohibited from entering Philippine territory.
President Duterte told RT that despite his intention to make friends with every country, his decision to decline Trump’s invitation was rooted in former President Barack Obama’s criticisms of his drug war in 2016.
“One time when I was being criticized by Obama in a press conference he should have realized that I was also a head of a sovereign state. He should have criticized me in a proper venue,” Duterte said.
“He should have brought the case to the United Nations rather than castigate a president of another country in a press con. So I got mad. So I said a lot of cuss, epithets. I said he’s a son of a…” he added, not finishing his sentence.
In a news conference in Vientiane, Laos in September 2016, Obama urged Duterte to conduct his crime war “the right way,” after reports that 3,000 people were killed in the crackdown in just over two months.