MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday expressed admiration for China for its help in uplifting the Philippine economy.
Duterte has made a stunning U-turn in Philippine foreign policy since assuming office last year, pivoting towards China and moving away from the country's traditional ally, the United States.
In a speech in Pasay City, Duterte brought up China’s investment pledges and Beijing’s willingness to let Philippine products enter its burgeoning market.
“Makita mo ang sincerity ng mga Chinese (You can really see the sincerity of the Chinese). So, let me publicly say again, thank you President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people for loving us and giving us enough leeway to survive the rigors of economic life in this planet,” Duterte said.
“Kaya ako, ang sabi ko, at the expense of being hated sa ibang lugar, eh ok lang yan. Tutal, at the day’s end, I’m answerable to you,” the president added.
(I don’t mind if I’d be hated in other places. At the end of the day, I’m answerable to you.)
During his visit to China last year, Duterte was able to bring home $15-billion worth of economic deals.
The President has said several times that he wants to avoid confrontation with China and sees no need to press Beijing to abide by a July 2016 arbitration ruling against China's claims in the disputed South China Sea.
China's foreign ministry earlier said that Duterte will visit China for the second time in May to attend a multilateral summit.