World

Duterte: Russia Will Give U.S. Guns If US Won't

| by Denise Recalde

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has slammed the United States for terminating the planned sale of 26,000 rifles to his country, dubbing those who halted the sale "monkeys" and "fools" and insinuated he may obtain the weapons from China and Russia instead. 

In a Nov. 2 televised speech, Duterte said he had "lost respect" for the United States as a result of the decision, Al Jazeera reports. 

"Look at these monkeys, the 26,000 firearms we wanted to buy, they don't want to sell," he said.

The Philippine leader said China and Russia would step up to fill the role of firearm supplier to his country, but clarified he would wait to see whether or not his military leaders would move forward with continuing to use American weapons.

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"Russia, they are inviting us. China also. China is open, anything you want, they sent me brochure saying we select there, we'll give you," he said. "But I am holding off because I was asking the military if they have any problem. Because if you have, if you want to stick to America, fine."

"But, look closely and balance the situation, they are rude to us," he continued.

The State Department halted the deal after Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Cardin  said he would oppose it over qualms with the country's recent human rights record, according to Al Jazeera.

Cardin is the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Senator specifically referred to questionable human rights incidents that have taken place during Duterte's controversial and bloody four-month-old war on drugs. 

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"Committee staff told State that Cardin would block it if it was sent forward. They haven't sent it. Does that mean it has been stopped? I guess that depends on your definition. It would be highly unusual for State to move it forward with explicit opposition," a Senate aide said on Nov. 2.

The Philippines president said the U.S. is unfairly manipulating its ties to his country. 

"They're blackmailing me that they won't sell weapons? We have lots of explosives here," Duterte said, according to CNN.

Sources: CNN, Al Jazeera / Photo credit: OFY Pinoy Star

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