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Forget about defense deal ‘if I stay longer’: Philippines Duterte to U.S.

The Philippine leader made the remark before he board a plane for an official visit to fellow U.S. ally Japan, a big investor in the Philippines
Duterte

Barely a week after announcing separation from United State, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday lashed out at US saying it could forget a bilateral defence deal if he stayed in power long enough, in the latest jarring statement from Manila about the future of the alliance.

The Philippine leader made the remark before he board a plane for an official visit to fellow U.S. ally Japan, a big investor in the Philippines that is becoming nervous about its apparent pivot towards rival power China, reports Reuters.

Speaking to reporters, Duterte, on the eve of his visit, softened his remarks last week about a “separation” from Washington, saying that he wasn’t planning to change alliances and was only seeking to build trade and commerce with China.

But he pulled no punches on Tuesday when he said he hated having foreign troops in the Philippines and told the United States not to treat his country “like a dog with a leash”.

Commenting on Assistant Secretary of State,Daniel Russel’s  visit to Manila, Duterte said Washington should forget about an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Philippines if he were to stay in charge longer.

“You have the EDCA, well forget it. If I stay here long enough,” Duterte said. “I do not want to see any military man of any other nation except the Filipino. That’s the only thing I want.”

The Philippines President however  did not elaborate on what staying longer meant. In the Philippines, a president is allowed only one six-year term in office.

The remarks were another perplexing swing from Duterte, who last week announced in China his “separation” from the United States, before assuring that ties were not being severed and he was merely pursuing an independent foreign policy.

His latest swipe at Washington could rattle Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wants to keep ties with the Philippines tight.

 

 

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