DAVAO CITY — To reiterate his position on gettng support from the US, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed again his strong disapproval to the US government that the country wouldn’t need the high-powered fighter jets them being dangled to him.
He discussed, “If they are thinking we are going to buy Lockheed Martin (planes), how many F-16s can I buy? Three? For what? Against China? Malaysia? Wala naman tayong away (We don’t have a war to fight). What I need are propeller-driven planes to fight the insurgents,” Duterte said after he read a letter from the US Secretary of State inviting him for an audience.
“We don’t need the F-16, but they keep dangling that to us after they humiliated us,” Duterte also said after admitting he was insulted by President Obama’s statement on the extrajudicial killings. He added, “What we need are attack helicopters and small planes and not M-16. It would be useless to buy these”.
President Duterte read a letter from US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, reaffirming America’s support to the country’s modernization program and hinting that he met the US Secretary of State and the US Secretary of Defense..
Duterte briefly described that the letter was signed by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Louis Ross Jr., US Secretary of Defense James Norman Mattis, and Kim.
Kim apparently suggested in a letter to have meeting between Duterte, Pompeo, and Mattis, but the President said he was slighted first by former President Barack Obama’s statements and by US Congress’ earlier move to stop military aid to the Philippines.Mr. Duterte, however, said he would like to meet US President Donald Trump’s officials for debate but he will not go to America.
Just last week, US Defense Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver has warned the Philippines against buying defense equipment from Russia which Duterte did not like and rebuked Schriver.
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