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'Philippines delivers major blow to US imperial ambitions in Asia'

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping review the guard of honor as they attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement of his country’s “separation” from the United States and marriage to China is a “major blow to US imperial ambitions in Asia,” according to an American a writer and retired professor.  

James Petras, a professor emeritus of sociology at Binghamton University in New York, and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Canada, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday.

During a visit to China on Thursday, President Duterte announced a "separation from the US,” saying the separation applied to military and economic cooperation between Washington and Manila.

Despite this public snub, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter insisted on Friday that his country intends to keep its alliance commitments to the Philippines.

"We have important alliance commitments which we intend to keep in the Philippines,” Carter said, adding, "Obviously any relationship is one of mutuality and we will continue to discuss that with our Philippine counterparts."

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (L) comes out from the building for an enhanced honor cordon to welcome South Korean National Defense Minister Han Min-goo at the Pentagon on October 20, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by AFP) 
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) speaks during a meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP) 

Professor Petras said, “President Duterte has marked out a new direction for Philippine policy, because the Philippines has been a colony of the United States either officially or unofficially.”

“And as a result it’s the poorest country in Southeast Asia despite the fact that it has a very advanced education system and many, many scores of thousands of skilled professionals – many of them work abroad,” he added.

“With the rise of China I think that there is great opportunity here on the basis of Chinese financing and accommodating the Philippine needs for development,” the scholar said.

“We will see a very great change in Philippine policy. Instead of serving as a military base for the United States to attack China, I think they are going to reduce their military ties to the United States, and expand their economic ties with China, and as a result, I think, the US will eventually lose one of their key military outposts controlling China’s trade on the South China Sea,” he noted.   

“I think this is a major blow to US imperial ambitions in Asia. And, I think, it’s recognition among the Philippine people that they a future in economic relations with China, rather than military dependency on the United States,” Professor Petras concluded. 

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