Will consider sticking with US weapons, says Duterte
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he would consider continuing to acquire weapons and defense equipment from treaty ally – the United States, if his military recommends so, despite offers from China and Russia.
Duterte said this in a speech, in which he again railed at the US with expletives for criticising his anti-drug crackdown, calling American officials "monkeys" and breaking a promise that he would no longer resort to trash talk.
Duterte, who took office in June, has been antagonistic to US, EU and UN officials,
who have raised human rights concerns over his brutal crackdown on illegal drug sellers and users and called for an end to extrajudicial killings.
He has used expletives in responding to their criticisms, telling President Barack Obama to "go to hell" in an outburst last month. He has declared his intention to scale back his country's military engagements with Washington, including ending largescale joint combat exercises and the presence of visiting US forces, while reaching out to expand once-frosty relations with China and Russia.
US officials, however, say they have not been formally notified by the Philippines of any change in security relations and activities and stress that Washington wants to continue its decades-long alliance with Manila.
Duterte said he had asked his defense secretary and military officials to travel to China and Russia to check what weapons and defense equipment they have to offer, but added that the military's recommendation will be crucial.
"China is open. Anything you want. They even sent me a brochure, telling me to choose and they will provide," Duterte said.