Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Merle Christensen

Trump praises Duterte for an 'unbelievable job' on drug issue


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, told him that China would go to war with Manila if it drills for oil in the South China Sea.

Duterte said in his pre-departure speech on Monday that his "landmark visit" to meet with Putin and Medvedev was aimed at rectifying a "strategic oversight" on the part of the Philippines for "overdependence on traditional partners" like the United States and other western countries. "Just take care of yourself, and we will take care of North Korea", he added.

"We're trying our best to contain the situation", Herrera said by telephone, adding that troops were moving carefully to avoid hitting civilians in the area of the fighting.

"Russia is a country that we must work with".

He said he made a decision to build an independent foreign policy, without looking at the United States and cooperating with China and other nations around the world. "Same objective. If they can spare us the precision-guided [bombs] ... we have so many smart bombs but not as accurate as the ones guided by laser or satellite", Duterte said at a coast guard event over the weekend. "But if you force the issue, we will go to war".

Duterte said that he arrived in Moscow to offer Russian Federation friendship and partnership.

But Duterte, a self-described socialist, has been determined to reduce the Philippines' reliance on the United States and build much closer ties with China and Russian Federation.

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"I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russian Federation to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russian Federation".

The Philippines is also facing jihadist attacks by Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic State affiliate in the country, which has become increasingly aggressive in the Muslim-majority south of the country, where Duterte is from. "Overdependence on traditional partners has limited our room to manoeuvre in a very dynamic worldwide arena", Duterte told reporters before leaving.

Duterte responded by saying drugs are the "scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation". Last year Duterte lashed out at former US President Barack Obama amid reports the US was canceling an arms deal over alleged human rights abuses.

Police have reported killing about 2,700 people since Duterte took office at the end of June and immediately launched his war on drugs. "I mean, growing up watching James Bond movies, the villains were either an evil Russian scientist or some attractive nubile Russian assassin", Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said on Monday.

"Russia sells weapons, no conditions".

In the same interview with the Russian media, Duterte revealed that he had turned down an invitation to attend US President Donald Trump's inauguration in January in favor of first visiting Russia.

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