“In our relations with the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy,” Duterte told a news conference in his hometown Davao City in the southern Philippines.
He added, “We will observe, and must insist, I repeat, I must insist, on the time-honored principles of sovereign equality, non-interference and the commitment to a peaceful settlement of disputes to best serve our people and protect the interests of our country.”
He said he thinks this was “the most telling words” that he uttered in the just concluded summit of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN dialogue partners in Vientiane, Laos.
He said that it was not his intention to offend anybody in that meeting, adding he just wanted “to send message that we have every right to pursue an independent foreign policy without interference.”
“I hope they realized it by now,” he said without elaborating, adding, “I do not have an obligation to please everybody or to please some person.”
Duterte did not mention names or any specific country that he intends to send a clear message to.
But before the high-level meeting of the leaders from ASEAN and their counterparts from ASEAN dialogue partners, controversy hounded Duterte for making “strong remarks” against US President Barack Obama in connection with comments made by US officials on drug-related extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
Duterte’s remarks prompted Obama to cancel a scheduled meeting with Duterte last Thursday on the sidelines of the Laos meetings.