Can the world expect better relations between the U.S. and the Philippines, now that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to call his Filipino counterpart Rodrigo Duterte?
Manila-based news outfit GMA News reported that Duterte awaits Trump’s call following the former’s congratulatory message to the new American president. Duterte was among the first world leaders who congratulated Trump on his victory in the recently concluded U.S. elections.
Improved US-Philippines Relations
Perfecto Yasay, Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs, chief told GMA News that the Philippine government expects better relations with the U.S. after Trump won the presidency.
Duterte recently announced his shift of foreign policy, aligning with China and Russia. Duterte issued the statement after the U.S. and EU criticized the interference of the West to his country’s internal affairs.
Yasay, for his part, said that the government is expecting improved relations between the Philippines and the U.S. The foreign affairs chief noted Duterte and Trump’s similar temperaments as an important factor that could help mend the severed Manila-Washington relations.
“In my opinion, regardless of who became the president, especially now with Trump, the relations with the Philippines and the U.S. will not only remain strong and firm, but will only grow stronger,” he told the GMA News.
Yasay, however, pointed out that the Philippines would continue pushing for an independent foreign policy away from foreign influence. This fundamental change, Yasay added, is important in pushing for the country’s development.
With Trump, who shares similarities with Duterte, experts believe this could recast the U.S.-Philippine relationship. Whether this could be beneficial to both countries remains uncertain as of this point, the Washington Post reported.
Duterte has repeatedly lambasted outgoing U.S. president Barack Obama, who openly criticized Duterte’s war on illegal drugs. This, apart from other reasons, has soured the decades-long Manila-Washington ties.