Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) urged President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to decline the invitation of United States President Donald Trump to visit the White House.
Trump invited Duterte to visit the US during a phone call last Saturday after the end of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, which the Philippines hosted.
“It would be better for President Duterte to decline the invitation of US President Donald Trump for a meeting in Washington,” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said.
Duterte’s visit to the White House, according to Reyes, would only go against the Philippine president’s independent foreign policy. He said Duterte should also not allow the US to “dictate” on the Philippines.
“We are being dragged into a conflict not of our choosing and not in accord with our national interest,” Reyes said. “What worries us is Trump’s pitch to get the Philippines involved in the conflict with North Korea. “
Reyes said the Filipino people would gain nothing from the meeting, except a “photo opportunity” for the two leaders.
Reyes said that the US was desperate to maintain its position in the Asian region because of Duterte’s earlier announcement of “separation” from the US and closer ties to China and Russia.
Trump is supposed to visit the Philippines in November for the 31st Asean Summit.
But Reyes said mass protests would likely greet Trump during his visit. He said his group had been calling for the removal of US troops and bases in the Philippines and “an end to US intervention in the region.”
Meanwhile, JP Rosos, national spokesperson of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), said Duterte should just “busy himself in forging plans to pursue a genuine, free, and independent foreign policy.” –Eiriel Rain Dollete /atm
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