The US-Philippines relationship remains a priority to the US despite remarks by President Rodrigo Duterte threatening to "break up with America" and telling US President Barack Obama to "go to hell," the White House said Tuesday.
The remarks are "at odds with the warm relationship that exists between the Filipino and American people," spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Earnest pointed to joint military exercises that began Tuesday and said there had been no official moves from the Filipino government to formally alter any part of the bilateral relationship.
Duterte has had harsh words for Obama because of US criticism of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines and Obama cancelled a bilateral meeting with Duterte last month over similar comments.
“I would be reconfiguring my foreign policy," Duterte said, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper. "Eventually in my time I would break up with America. I would rather go to Russia or to China. Even though we don’t agree with the ideology, they have respect for the people.”
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