The Philippine government has not officially requested to sever security and economic ties with the United States, the White House confirmed Thursday.
Rumors circulated in response to Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration Wednesday that military and economic ties with the US would be severed due to Washington’s perceived meddling in Philippine affairs.
“In this venue, I announce my separation from the United States, both in military, not social… and economic,” Duterete said at the Philippine-China Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing.
“It’s about time to say goodbye, my friend,” Duterte added. “Your stay in my country was for your own benefit.”
Duterte has recently railed against the United States, and more specifically President Barack Obama, for raising concerns over his mass extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users and traffickers.
According to Reuters, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters that Washington has “not received any official requests from Filipino officials to alter any of our many issues where we bilaterally cooperate.”
Duterte is currently in China on a four day visit intended to boost economic relations between China and the Philippines.
“I will not go to America anymore,” Duterte said Wednesday during his visit. “I will just be insulted there.”
Duterte’s open hostility towards the US could mark a turning point in US-Philippine relations, which have historically been strong and positive. According to Schultz, the U.S.-Philippine relationship is “Built on a 70-year history, rich people to people ties and a long list of shared security concerns.” If Duterte’s rhetoric is any indication, however, that tradition may be in jeopardy, as political winds shift in a decidedly darker direction.