Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte has told US President Barack Obama to “go to hell”.
He also says the United States had refused to sell some weapons to his country but he doesn’t care because Russia and China are willing suppliers.
In his latest salvo, Duterte said on Tuesday he had lost respect for the United States and railed at its concerns about his bloody war on drugs, calling his critics “fools” who could not stop him carrying out a campaign that has killed more than 3400 people in just over three months.
In a tangential, at times profane speech in Manila, Duterte said the United States did not want to sell missiles and other weapons, but Russia and China had told him they could provide them easily.
“Although it may sound shit to you, it is my sacred duty to keep the integrity of this republic and the people healthy,” Duterte said in his second of two televised speeches on Tuesday.
“If you don’t want to sell arms, I’ll go to Russia. I sent the generals to Russia and Russia said ‘do not worry we have everything you need, we’ll give it to you’.
“And as for China, they said ‘just come over and sign and everything will be delivered’.”
His comments were the latest in a near-daily avalanche of hostility towards the United States, during which Duterte has started to contrast the former colonial power with its geopolitical rivals Russia and China.
His shift on China threatens a long–standing Philippines–US alliance.
“I’m serving notice now to the Americans. I will maintain the military alliance, the RP-US pact which our countries signed in the early ’50s. But I will establish new alliances for trade and commerce,” Mr Duterte said.
“You are scheduled to hold war games, which China does not want. I will serve notice to you now that this will be the last military exercise, jointly, [between] Philippines, the US. Last one.”
The war games have been crucial in building cooperation and strengthening the alliance, but that is all in jeopardy, while comments from the volatile Philippines president have seemed confusing.
First Duterte announced US troops would be expelled from their base in Mindanao, where they have been helping combat insurgents.
Later he seemed to moderate his position, after his Defence Chief insisted the US relationship was “rock solid”.