Duterte seeks ‘highly-productive’ APEC but won’t be a ‘subservient lackey’ » Manila Bulletin News

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By Genalyn Kabiling

DA NANG, Vietnam — When he participates in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here, President Duterte has pledged not to let the United States or any foreign nation impose on the country’s affairs, from the South China Sea issue to human rights.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte responds with a friendly gesture to one of the members of the media who made queries following his speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport prior to his departure for Vietnam on November 8, 2017. (KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President said he looks forward to a “highly-productive” APEC meeting to promote inclusive growth, food security, regional security, among others, but would not be a “subservient lackey of anyone.”

Duterte made the remarks amid the proposed meetings with United States President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and other Asia-Pacific leaders on the sidelines of the APEC summit this week.

“The Philippines is not beholden to anyone. The Philippines is a sovereign state. I will not allow anybody to impose anything on my country. I will listen to you. But if it is not to the best of interest for my country, I will ignore you,” Duterte said in a press conference before leaving Manila for Da Nang, Vietnam.

“We meet as sovereigns. I will not go there as a subservient lackey of anyone including what you would like to hear from me but which you cannot ask maybe or later on about human rights,” he added.

Duterte also warned against foreign intervention on the government’s anti-drugs crackdown.

“Lay off. That’s not your business. I take care of my country. I will nurture my country to health,” said Duterte, who has been criticized by some groups here and abroad for the alleged summary killings and other rights abuses linked to his war on drugs.

In his planned talks with the US leader, the President admitted that he would tackle PH-US cooperation on trade and security as well as the South China Sea dispute.

“Number one is always trade because that is the very life of nations. Then, we will discuss extremism, terrorism. And third, maybe sa bilateral, they might want to ask a very definitive position of the Philippines vis-à-vis with China,” he said.

The President intends to raise his preference for a peaceful dialogue to settle the territorial conflict in the South China Sea. “I would just say that we all hunger for peace and if we can talk about it in a very civilized manner, I would be glad to participate in the discussion,” he added.

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