MANILA - Shackled with trillions of dollars in debt to China, the US no longer controls the world economy, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
Duterte spoke to Chinese businessmen in Beijing Thursday, in the middle of a four-day state visit that is meant to repair ties between Manila and Beijing that have been strained by disputes in the South China Sea.
"America does not control the economy now. His place that he is the most powerful industrial nation in the world. That’s a lot of bullshit," Duterte said, to applause from the audience.
"How can you be the most powerful industrial country when you owe China and you are not paying it for almost three trillion dollars? Kalaki-laki ng utang mo, may utang ka [You are saddled with huge debt]" he added.
China is the biggest holder of US government debt, with $1.9 trillion in bonds, notes and bills as of August, according to Bloomberg data.
In the same speech, Duterte announced the Philippines' "separation" from the US, the country's former colonial master and only treaty ally.
Duterte had rejected US criticism of his bloody war on drugs in curse-filled tirades. Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said earlier this month that America has "failed" the Philippines.
Duterte on Thursday said the US was "afflicted with paranoia" and was "deathly afraid" of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Washington, Duterte said, also failed to help rescue the Greek economy.
Unlike the US, China "does not go around insulting people" to assert its influence, true to its "oriental" character, Duterte said.
The Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a "counterbalance" to the US-led International Monetary Fund and World Bank, he said.