Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte responded angrily today to reports that the US is considering withholding some of its aid to the country over human rights concerns, saying that the Philippines doesn’t need America, and more importantly, “we don’t need your money.”
Since his election, US and Philippines relations have dramatically worsened, with President Obama canceling a planned meeting with Duterte, and the Philippines president openly talking about seeking closer military ties with Russia and China, arguing that the US, historically their lone arms supplier, was only interested in selling what they want to sell, not necessarily what a country like his needs or wants to buy.
Duterte insisted that the “politics here in Southeast Asia is changing” and that China had assured him he could get whatever he needs from them instead of the United States. He also reiterated his desire to end US military deployments to the Philippines, saying the US should prepare to quickly remove its troops and equipment.
He indicated that the end of the deal allowing US troops in the Philippines could come at “any day,” Duterte has previously expressed concern that close ties with the US military could suck the Philippines into an American war with China, and that he wants to avoid that.