Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he “totally” agrees with former President Benigno Aquino III that his “fascists” have a “fantastic” chance to rule the country.
Duterte, who was in Indonesia on Tuesday, also called on the United States to stop providing weapons to the Philippine military, saying it “will lead to a civil conflict.”
“They want to topple my government because they have a lot of money and they want to take over the country,” Duterte said in an interview with an Indonesian radio station.
“They have the right to do so, but I fully support the constitution.
If they want, they can give weapons to me.”
The Philippine military said in a statement that the United Nations has approved the request for $6.4 million in US military aid to help the Philippines’ defense against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Duterte said he was also considering the possibility of withdrawing U.S. troops from the country and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.
The United States has provided some $50 million in arms to the Philippines in recent years and U.N. weapons inspectors have repeatedly visited the country in the wake of Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.
Ducao, the top diplomat for the Philippines, also said he is open to talks with China, which is the Philippines largest trading partner.
“I have made it clear that we need to talk to them,” he said.
“China is a great country, but it has to respect the Constitution and international law.
We are trying to find ways to meet the needs of the Filipino people.”
The Philippines has a history of tensions with China but it was not clear whether Tuesday’s remarks could cause a new flare up of those tensions.
China is the largest foreign investor in the Philippines and has said it would not seek to impose tariffs on the Philippine peso.
The Philippines is also under a trade boycott by the European Union, which wants to ease trade barriers with the Philippines.