Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said that it is "time to say goodbye" to the United States. Duterte made the statement while on a visit to China where he met Chinese President Xi Jinping to thaw tensions between the two nations and regulate bilateral agreements.
Duterte addressed a press briefing on Wednesday in Beijing and made the statement a day before the talks with the Chinese President. There was not much information on what was discussed during the meeting. There are reports of unprecedented agreements between the two nations, including allowing Philippines to use the Scarborough Shoal, which is an area rich in resources in the South China Sea.
Duterte has been embroiled in controversies ever since he took the Philippines' presidential seat in June. Duterte has encouraged citizens in Philippines to bring justice to drug peddlers in the nation as part of his crackdown on suspected drug dealers and users. Over 2,800 people have been killed in this crackdown so far.
Duterte has been drifting away from the US ever since his presidency. The Philippines President also made the headlines last month by calling US President Barack Obama "son of a b****" ahead of the ASEAN Summit. The remarks led Obama to cancel a scheduled meeting between the two leaders. Duterte later apologised for his remarks and met Obama briefly on the sidelines of the summit.
Referring to the US military presence at various Filipino bases, Duterte said, "Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So, time to say goodbye, my friend." Duterte has been vocal against the US military's stay in Philippines.
"No more American interference. No more American exercises. What for? I will not go to America anymore. I will just be insulted there," he added.
Currently, Duterte is in China to mend the souring relationship between the two countries over the South China Sea.