September 26, 2016 - 17:44 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday, September 26 he would visit Russia and China this year to chart an independent foreign policy and "open alliances" with two powers with historic rivalries with the United States, Reuters reports.
Duterte said the Philippines was at the "point of no return" in its relations with former colonial ruler the United States, so he wanted to strengthen ties with others, and picked two global powers with which Washington has been sparring with on the international political stage.
He last week declared he would soon - and often - visit China, with which ties remain frosty over a South China Sea arbitration ruling won by the Philippines in July. He said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was expecting him in Moscow.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.
An arbitration court in The Hague in July invalidated China's claims to the waterway in a case brought by the Philippines, a ruling that Beijing refuses to recognize.
"I am ready to not really break (U.S.) ties but we will open alliances with China and... Medvedev, he is awaiting there for my visit," Duterte told reporters, adding he would open up the "other side of the ideological barrier".
He welcomed investment and shrugged off rating agency Standard and Poor's concerns last week about the Philippine economy on his watch and his unpredictability.
"Never mind about the ratings," he said. "I will open up the Philippines for them to do business, alliances of trade and commerce."