Trump victory proves Duterte's U.S. policy right – envoy
MANILA, Philippines – The victory of US President-elect Donald Trump proves Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte right in stopping an excessive dependence on the US, the Philippines' incoming ambassador to China said.
Philippine Ambassador-designate to China Chito Santa Romana cited the uncertainty about Trump's foreign policy.
"I think what happened here is that the election of Trump in the US shows the validity, actually, of this strategy of not relying or excessively relying on the US, but hedging our bets," Santa Romana said Tuesday, November 6.
Santa Romana said Trump has generated uncertainty in issues such as the following:
- Whether he will abide by the US' treaty alliance with the Philippines
- What he will do about American investments in the Philippines
- How he will deal with human rights concerns
- Whether he will uphold American leadership in global affairs, or "withdraw" as part of "the isolationist tendency that he enunciated during his campaign"
'We have prepared the country'
The incoming ambassador to China said: "I think, broadly speaking, we have in a sense prepared the country. You try to find a way that you have relations with all the major powers – with the dominant power that the US still is, with China, the rising power."
Santa Romana then stressed the need to make China "willing to be our economic partner in development," as the Asian giant has "the biggest world foreign exchange reserves."
"And this is the new approach that we hope will work for the welfare of the people," he said.
The nomination of Santa Romana – the former Beijing bureau chief of ABC News, who worked as a journalist in China for two decades – comes at a time when Duterte is asserting an independent foreign policy.
For Duterte, this means moving away from its traditional ally, the US, and closer to America's rival in the Asia Pacific, China, to "rebalance" the Philippines' ties with major powers. (READ: Duterte admin 'independent' from US, 'bullied' by China?)
Earlier, the Palace also said that "the pivot to China was a preparation" for the presidency of Trump, "whose protectionist policies are expected to maybe affect remittances from abroad."
The Palace, however, said that the Philippines' ties with the US "is improving," as seen in the recent "very engaging, animated" phone conversation between Duterte and Trump. – Rappler.com