US President Barack Obama congratulated presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte, and he talked to him through phone this Tuesday, May 17 (US time). This conversation was confirmed by the White House via a statement on its official website that day. Duterte also revealed what he told to the outgoing American president.
“President Obama spoke by phone today with presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to convey his congratulations. President Obama noted that the successful election and record voter participation were emblematic of the Philippines’ vibrant democracy.” A statement reads at www.whitehouse.gov.
“The President highlighted the enduring values that underpin our thriving alliance with the Philippines and the longstanding ties between our two peoples, including our shared commitments to democracy, human rights, rule of law, and inclusive economic growth.”The White House added, noting that Obama and Duterte will continue the strong relationship between US and the Philippines.
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This Wednesday morning (Manila time), President-elect Duterte confirmed to reporters that he has talked with the US President. According to him, he told President Obama that his incoming administration is open for bilateral talks with China over the disputed West Philippine Sea once the on-going negotiations will not be successful.
“I assured him [Obama] that we will continue with our mutual interests and that we are allied with the Western [World] in this issue on China Sea. But I gave him an inkling that, well, I would agree to just go with you.” Duterte said, noting that it was an honor for him to talk to Obama, who is the first world leader to call and congratulated him.
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“But if it goes on still waters, I said, there’s no wind to move the sail, I might opt to go bilateral,” He added, noting that President Obama urged him to wait for the result of the arbitration. The Philippine government filed a case before a United Nations arbitration court back in January 2014, challenging China over the disputed territories.