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Philippine minister explained Duterte’s remarks towards U.S.

Philippine minister explained Duterte’s remarks towards U.S.The Philippines will maintain trade and economic ties with the United States, Reuters reported on Friday, citing the words of Trade Minister Ramon Lopez.

The explanation cme a day after President Rodrigo Duterte announced his "separation" from Washington. Duterte made his comments in Beijing, where he was paving the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with long-time ally Washington deteriorate.

"With that, in this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States… Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also," Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people to applause at a forum in the Great Hall of the People.

Lopez sought to explain Duterte's comments.

"Let me clarify. The president did not talk about separation," Lopez told CNN Philippines in Beijing.

"In terms of economic (ties), we are not stopping trade, investment with America. The president specifically mentioned his desire to strengthen further the ties with China and the ASEAN region which we have been trading with for centuries," he added.

Lopez said the Philippines was "breaking being too much dependent on one side".

"But we definitely won't stop the trade and investment activities with the West, specifically the U.S," he specified.
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