Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stepped up his attacks on the U.S. and other Western nations as he held his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru.
"Of late, I see a lot of these Western nations bullying small nations," Duterte said during the meeting, according to a transcript released by the Presidential Communications Office in Manila. "And not only that, they are into so much hypocrisy. They seem to start a war but are afraid to go to war. That is what's wrong with America and the other" Western nations.
Duterte also met with Xi Jinping in Lima and invited China's president to visit his country, according to the presidential office. Xi accepted, though no time frame was given for a visit. Duterte said his trip to Beijing in October produced a lot of goodwill and expressed hope that his country will remain a good friend of China.
Since Duterte took office in June, the tough-talking 71-year-old leader has repeatedly questioned his nation's alliance with the U.S. while touting the economic benefits of friendlier ties with China. On his four-day visit last month to China, he announced a formal "separation" from the U.S. and said he wanted to pivot to China and Russia even as he won funding and investment pledges worth $24 billion from the Asian giant.
Duterte has also vowed to end joint military exercises with the U.S. and has called for American soldiers to leave the southern island of Mindanao.
The Washington Post