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US to seek clarification on Duterte’s ‘separation’ remark

The Washington State Department will be seeking a formal explanation from the Malacañang on President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration before the Chinese community that he is already severing the Philippines’ military and economic ties with the United States.
“We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from the U.S.,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said, as quoted by Reuters.
In his speech at the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing, Duterte announced that the Philippines is severing military and economic ties with the US and instead will rely on the support of China and Russia.

Duterte is in China since Tuesday, October 17 for a four-day state visit set to end on Friday, October 21.
“It’s not clear to us exactly what that means in all its ramifications,” Kirby said, adding that Duterte’s remark is at odds with the two countries’ longtime alliance.
Meanwhile, in an interview with GMA News’ “Unang Hirit”, outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said the US would still want to continue its relationship with the Philippines as the two countries were “inextricably linked” because of the mutual defense treaty.
“The US has a very strong commitment to the Philippines. We have a defense treaty. We consider it to be a solid and solemn commitment,” Goldberg said.
“”We’re committed to an alliance between the two countries… From our point of view, we’re not suing for divorce,” he added. [source]

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