President Duterte is not severing the country’s diplomatic ties with the United States.
In a news conference shortly after his arrival from China at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, Duterte clarified his announcement of “separation” from the US which he made while in Beijing for a four-day state visit.
He emphasized that it is “not severance of ties” but a “separation of foreign policy.”
“You have to take my words in the context of what I’ve been saying all along. It’s not severance of ties. When you say ‘severance of ties’, you cut the diplomatic ties. I cannot do that. Why? It’s to the best interest of my country that we maintain that relationship,” Duterte said.
Duterte noted that there are many Filipinos in the United States, including Americans of Filipino ancestry. Thus, the second one (severance of ties) is not feasible. “Why? The Filipinos in the United States will kill me,” he said.
Duterte said that what he was really saying was “separation of his foreign policy that it need not dovetail the foreign policy of America.”
“That’s what I meant actually. Sever is to cut. Separate is just to chart another way of doing it,” stressed Duterte.
“In the past and until I became President, we always follow what the United States would give the cue. Pa-sunod-sunod tayo. ‘Di ako magsunod,” he added.