TOKYO - Japan will not be a "peacemaker" between the United States and the Philippines as there is nothing wrong between the long-time treaty allies, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday.
Japan is a close ally of the US and Duterte's push for an independent foreign policy, away from Washington, has raised concerns in Tokyo.
"There is no peacemaker role here because in the first place, there are no conflicts between the Philippines and the US," House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who flew here ahead of Duterte's official visit to Japan, said.
"We are not severing ties with anyone. We want to maintain diplomacy with almost all countries in the world," he said.
But Duterte once again doused the US with vitriol in his pre-departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Tuesday, after learning from Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay that the US wants Duterte to "tone down his rhetoric."
"Sila ang nagumpisa, everytime they say, 'we will cut assistance.' I said, p******** ninyo, 'wag mo kaming gawing aso. (The US started this everytime they say 'we will cut assistance.' Son of a b****, don't make us your dogs.) I am not a dog on a leash," Duterte said.
Regardless of the President's sharp rhetoric against the US, Alvarez insisted that the Duterte is only "pursuing an independent foreign policy [which] is really good for us [the Philippines]."
"Each leader has his own strategy. If that is the strategy of the President, then so be it as long as he is pursuing the national interest of the country," Alvarez said.
"There is nothing to worry about as long as there is no bad intention against any country," he said.
--- with reports from Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News.