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Duterte wants to free Philippines of 'shackling dependency' on US: Foreign minister

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has challenged the US and EU to withdraw all aid to the country if they were uncomfortable with his war on drugs. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Manila, NCR, Philippines Oct 07, 2016, 04.09 AM (IST)

The foreign minister of the Philippines has said President Rodrigo Duterte wishes to liberate the country from its "shackling dependency" on the United States, especially when America refuses to guarantee that it will come to the Philippines' aid when its sovereignity is under threat. 

In a Facebook post, the country's foreign affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay said, "Breaking away from the shackling dependency of the Philippines to effectively address both internal and external security threats has become imperative in putting an end to our nation's subservience to United States' interests."  

Yasay added that while the Philippines was grateful to the US for many things, "the stark reality is that even in protecting our territorial boundaries and the exclusive use of our maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, our defensive forces remain grossly incapable in meeting the security threats that we face from potential foes, not to mention their stagnating impact on our development," Reuters reported. 

"Worse is that our only ally could not give us the assurance that in taking a hard line towards the enforcement of our sovereignty rights under international law, it will promptly come to our defence under our existing military treaty and agreements, " Reuters reported. This, Reuters reported, was the most forceful show of accord from a top official with President Rodrigo Duterte's tough anti-American stance. 

Yasay also accused the United States of using a "carrot and stick" policy to keep the Philippines dependent on it, even after 70 years of independence. 

Yasay's comments come after President Duterte announced that joint military exercises between the US and the Philippines would stop, and that he might at some point "break up" with the US. 

On Thursday, Duterte challenged the US and EU to withdraw all aid to the country if they were uncomfortable with his war on drugs.

US response

US state department spokesman John Kirby said they are "mindful of the rhetoric but we believe that it is at odds with the kind of cooperation that we have right now," Reuters quoted him as saying. 

He also told reporters in his daily news briefing that US aid to the Philippines for the fiscal year starting October 1 was 180 million dollars and that "we're committed" to delivering that and working on areas of mutual interest.  

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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