Duterte tells diplomats: PH seeks 'constructive' alliances


Posted at Jan 11 2017 12:02 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines is seeking "constructive engagement" with the world, as he spoke to the diplomatic corps for the first time.

Since assuming office in June last year, Duterte has distanced the Philippines from the US while building closer ties with China and Russia.

"The Philippines will continue to build on friendships founded on common objectives, shared values, and time-honored principles of international law," Duterte said in a New Year's reception in Malacanang.

"We believe that friends help each other and utilize constructive engagement to achieve common goals," he added.

The President traditionally hosts a Vin d'Honneur or cocktail reception for diplomats twice every year, one in January and again on June 12, Independence Day.

Duterte did not specifically name Washington, Beijing and Moscow during his speech on Wednesday.

"In a world that recognizes our interconnectedness and respects each other's sovereign independence, the horizons and frontiers of cooperation are virtually limitless," he said.

"Friendship, after all, knows no bound," he added.

Duterte has threatened to cut ties with the US after American officials criticized his bloody war on drugs and at one time told outgoing US President Barack Obama to "go to hell."

At the same time, he sought to repair ties with Washington's rival, Beijing, which was strained by disputes in the South China Sea. During a visit to China in October, he said relations with the Philippines had entered "springtime."

Last week, Duterte visited a Russian warship that was docked in Manila Bay as the Philippines and Russia negotiated a security deal.