Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking to realign his country's foreign policy away from the US, stating "America has failed us."
The country's top diplomat said in a statement that the US has "held on to invisible chains that reined us in towards dependency and submission" even after it gave its former colony independence in 1946.
"Breaking away from the shackling dependency of the Philippines to effectively address both internal and external security threats has become imperative in putting an end to our nation's subservience to US interests," he said.
The US is the Philippines closest ally and the two countries have a mutual defence treaty. But in the past three months, newly elected President Duterte has expressed his discontent about relations with Washington.
On Tuesday, he told President Barack Obama to "go to hell" and warned that he might "break up" with the US. He earlier said that ongoing joint military exercises between US and Philippines troops would be the last under his term.
The United States obtained the Philippines from Spain in 1898 and despite a first constitution being drawn up in 1935, it only officially recognized the country's independence in 1946.
Yasay said the Philippines would establish new alliances with countries such as China and Russia, but would never allow "any other nations to bully us or deal with Philippine interests under another carrot and stick policy" like the United States.
Moly Koscina, spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Manila, said Yasay’s statement was contrary to the warm relationship between the Philippines and the US.
"Frankly, it seems at odds with the warm relationship that exists between the Filipino and American people and the record of important cooperation between our two governments, cooperation that has continued under the Duterte government," she said in a statement.