Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday told U.S. President Barack Obama to “go to hell” and said the United States had refused to sell some weapons to his country but he did not care because Russia and China were willing suppliers.
In his latest salvo, Duterte said he was realigning his foreign policy because the United States had failed the Philippines and added that at some point, “I will break up with America”. It was not clear what he meant by “break up”.
During three tangential and fiercely worded speeches in Manila, Duterte said the United States did not want to sell missiles and other weapons, but Russia and China had told him they could provide them easily.
“Although it may sound shit to you, it is my sacred duty to keep the integrity of this republic and the people healthy,” Duterte said.
“If you don’t want to sell arms, I’ll go to Russia. I sent the generals to Russia and Russia said ‘do not worry, we have everything you need, we’ll give it to you’.
“And as for China, they said ‘just come over and sign and everything will be delivered’.”
His comments were the latest in a near-daily barrage of hostility towards the United States, during which Duterte has started to contrast the former colonial power with its geopolitical rivals Russia and China.
In Washington, U.S. officials downplayed Duterte’s comments, saying they were “at odds” with the two countries’ warm relationship and decades-long alliance. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there has been no communication from the Philippines about making changes in that relationship.
Earnest did not, however, back down from criticism of Duterte’s tactics in his deadly war on drugs.