Tough-talking Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his country’s “separation” from long-time ally America Thursday, declaring that he was pivoting instead to China.
The leader — who has been compared to Donald Trump — made his comments during a visit to Beijing, which he used to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with Washington deteriorate.
“In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States,” Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people, to applause, at a forum in the Great Hall of the People attended by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
“Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.”
Duterte’s efforts to engage China, months after a tribunal ruling in the Hague over South China Sea disputes in favor of the Philippines, marks a reversal in foreign policy since the 71-year-old former mayor took office on June 30. nbcnews.com