Duterte warns end to US defence pact during Japan visit

Philippine president calls the US a “bully” for hinting at cutting aid to Manila over human rights concerns.

Duterte arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday for a three-day official visit [Reuters]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has arrived in Japan for three-day of talks, but the first day of his visit was overshadowed by his rants against the United States, calling Americans “foolish” while threatening to cut off a 2014 defence pact with Washington DC.

“The Americans are really a bully,” for chastising him over his deadly war on drugs, Duterte told a crowd of Filipinos in Tokyo.

He called it “demeaning” for the US to hint at cutting aid and assistance to the Philippines on human rights grounds, saying, “You can have it. It’s all yours. We will survive.” 

Philippines: Duterte backtracks on ‘separation’ with US

Before leaving for the four-hour flight to Tokyo, Duterte also delivered a speech at the Manila airport, calling Americans “foolish,” adding that their land is stricken with “pure bigotry and discrimination.”

“These Americans are really foolish,” Duterte said, adding Americans travel to the Philippines “like somebody, without visas, these sillies.”

He also made a veiled threat to revoke a defence pact allowing large numbers of US troops, warships and planes to enter the Philippines for combat drills.

Referring to the pact, Duterte said, “Forget it,” adding that in the future, “I do not want to see any military man of any other nation except the Philippine soldier.”

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Manila, said Duterte was in a “characteristically uncompromising mood” before his departure.  

“This was meant to be a three quick questions before he got on a flight to Tokyo. It quickly deteriorated into a 15-20 minute rant against all things American,” our correspondent said.     

Supporters shout Duterte's name as they wait for his arrival at a hotel in Tokyo on Tuesday [Reuters]
Supporters shout Duterte’s name as they wait for his arrival at a hotel in Tokyo on Tuesday [Reuters]

Meeting with Abe

Later in his speech in Tokyo, Duterte said he is willing to be imprisoned in the future over his campaign of extrajudicial killings targeting alleged drug dealers and users.

“If you have the evidence, go ahead and file the case,” he said. “I can rot in prison for my country.” 

Duterte’s crackdown on drugs could have already resulted more than 3,000 deaths, Philippine police have said.

Duterte argued progressive countries in the West had no right to “chastise” and “reprimand” him for just doing his job to protect future generations of Filipinos.

The Philippines’ Duterte inches away from US and closer to China

On Wednesday Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to ask Duterte to mend soured ties with Washington when the two meet.

A planned statement would express Japan’s concern over the strained relationship between the US and the Philippines, caused by a string of anti-US remarks made by Duterte, the Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed Japanese government sources.

Duterte’s first visit to Japan since he took office in June follows a four-day trip to China last week, during which he announced a “separation from the United States” in a speech to Filipino and Chinese businessmen.

Duterte had said he was looking forward to the visit, noting, “I go to Japan with full trust that we can understand each other and Japan will understand my position vis-a-vis the foreign policy I want to implement, a policy that is truly Filipino.”

The president is also scheduled to meet Emperor Akihito.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies