In a blunt statement of the sort that’s becoming less and less unusual in bilateral relations , Philippines Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay declared America to have “failed” his country, and insisted that the Philippines desperately needs to break its “shackling dependency” on the United States.
This mirrors comments from President Rodrigo Duterte, who has also talked of his country having to “break up” with the United States and seek closer ties with both Russia and China as alternatives.
Yasay accused the US of trying to keep the Philippines “in dependency and submission as little brown brothers not capable of true independence and freedom.” Ties between the two nations have been increasingly tense since Duterte’s election, with US officials openly faulting Philippines voters for electing him.
A big issue appears to be US arms sales, with Duterte complaining that the US is trying to sell him warplanes they don’t need, and had refused to sell them certain other things, forcing them to turn to China. Duterte also suggested he didn’t want to get dragged into a US war with China over the South China Sea.
While Yasay’s comments suggest that he’s on Duterte’s side on the matter, it appears that long-standing US ties with the Philippines military are fueling some dissension within the ranks, as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana criticized Duterte as “misinformed” and insisted that the US aid was necessary.