WASHINGTON/DAVAO CITY - President Rodrigo Duterte has made too many troubling statements recently that lend uncertainty over its ties with the United States and are at odds with their alliance, the U.S. White House said on Thursday.
"We've seen too many troubling public statements from President Duterte over the last several months," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a daily press briefing.
"And the frequency of that rhetoric has added an element of unnecessary uncertainty into our relationship that doesn't advance the interests of either country."
In his strongest words so far against the U.S., Duterte said he is "separating" from the Philippines’ long-term ally and align instead with China and Russia.
Duterte made his comments in Beijing, where he was visiting with at least 200 business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with longtime ally Washington deteriorate.
He told Chinese and Philippine business people at a forum in the Great Hall of the People that America had "lost now".
"I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way.
"With that, in this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States. Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also."
Duterte later clarified in a press conference in Davao City after his arrival in China that his "separation" statement refers to foreign policy and not diplomatic ties.
"You know, you have to take my words in the context of what I've been saying all along. It's not severance of ties.... because in severance of ties, you have to cut diplomatic relations. I cannot do that. Why? It's for the best of our country to maintain that relationship. Why? Because there are many Filipinos in the United States," he said.
"People of my country (are) not ready to accept," he added. "What i'm really saying is a separation of foreign policy."
He also lashed out again at the U.S. and the European Union again for raising the issue of human rights amid his war on drugs.
"Assistance, U.S. aid, you can go to hell. E.U., no wonder you are in shambles now. You cannot even agree to be together or not. Whether to form still a European community or disintegrate. Why? because all your lawyers are all stupid and idiots," Duterte said. - with reports from Reuters