The Philippines cannot “forever be the little brown brothers of America”, the country’s top diplomat has said, making it clear the country will not accept foreign criticism for a deadly crackdown on drugs.

Speaking in Washington, foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay said that while his country still regards the US as a trusted ally, the Philippines wanted mutual respect.

Americans used the term ‘little brown brothers’ to refer to native Filipinos during the era of US colonial rule that ended in 1946.

The south-east Asian nation has for decades been seen by Washington as a dependable partner, especially against China’s expanding military reach in the region. American troops and ships are sent on regular rotations to the Philippines.