MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday reiterated that his administration is pursuing an independent foreign policy.
Speaking before reporters after his arrival in Davao City from a state visit in Indonesia and the ASEAN summit in Laos, Duterte discussed the importance of the principles of sovereign equality and non-interference in resolving issues.
"In our relations with the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy. I repeat: the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy," the president said early Saturday.
He added that the people and the interests of the country will take precedence in resolving international disputes.
"We will observe and must insist on the time-honored principles of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference, and the commitment of a peaceful settlement of disputes. Let us serve our people and protect the interests of our country," Duterte explained.
The president also shared details of his brief chat with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the ASEAN Summit Gala dinner.
The UN official had been at the receiving end of an expletive-laced tirade from Duterte after Ban commented on killings in the country amid the ongoing war on drugs.
(READ: UN chief slams Duterte 'endorsement' of killings)
Duterte and Ban talked and shook hands during the ASEAN Summit gala dinner.
(LOOK: Duterte, Ban KM shake hands at ASEAN gala dinner)
"He was seated beside me," Duterte said. "He did mention about human rights, and I responded very well and addressed myself to the body."
"Maybe I am not the person that would pull his own chair," Duterte added, "But I said, 'you can congratulate me a little bit, but not that much.'"
Duterte said that most of what he and Ban discussed are not for public consumption.