The US administration is not true to their promises, President Rodrigo Duterte stressed, still angry about Washington bailing out on a small arms shipment to its former territory under the pretext of human rights violations.
“The US is something else, too bossy. Their lieutenants talk like generals. That’s why I don’t listen to them. They do not have a word of honor,” Duterte said in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday, recalling how Washington halted the planned sale of 26,000 assault rifles for the Philippines’ national police in 2016.
The US State Department’s refusal to sell assault rifles to Manila, under the pretext of concerns about the country’s human rights record amid its ongoing war on drugs, has forced Duterte to seek new suppliers – namely, China and Russia. After receiving the arms shipments from both countries, Manila expressed interest in further diversifying its supplies and is considering the purchase of patrol boats, armored vehicles and even submarines.
While not tearing up its relations with the US, Manila is seeking to reaffirm its independence from the former colonial power. It signed an agreement on military and technical cooperation with Moscow in 2017, and has cozied up to China by holding its first military exercise with Beijing in October last year, amid ongoing Sino-American tensions in the region.