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The Philippines is committed to build on constructive alliances with international partners and pursue new friendship with others, President Duterte declared yesterday.
Speaking at the traditional New Year reception in Malacañang, the President recognized that the frontiers of international cooperation are “limitless” if countries help each other and respect each others’ independence.
“We value partners as we seek strengthened existing friendships even as we pursue new ones,” the President said before the diplomats, Cabinet members, lawmakers, and other senior government officials at the Vin d’ Honneur.
“We believe that friends help each other and utilize constructive engagement to achieve common goals. In truth, we all share the same aspiration of greater peace, progress, and prosperity,” he said.
The President said the Philippines would “continue to build on our friendship founded on a common objective, shared values, and time honored principles of international law.”
Duterte’s remarks came as the administration moved to lessen the country’s dependence on its long-time ally the United States in protest of Washington’s criticism of his bloody war on illegal drugs.
Although he has not severed ties with the US, Duterte has forged closer economic alliances with China, Russia. and other Asian neighbors.
The President did not mention the US, Russia, and China in his speech but pressed the need for respect for a nation’s sovereign independence.
“In a world that recognizes our interconnectedness and respect each others’ sovereign independence, the horizons and frontiers of cooperation are virtually limitless. Friendship, after all, knows no bound,” he said.
It was the first New Year reception hosted by the President for the diplomatic community led by Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Pinto since he assumed office in June 2016. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)