Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte dealt a major blow to the United States on Tuesday (February 11), after he terminated a two-decade-old Visiting Forces Agreement– delivering on threats to downgrade an alliance crucial to U.S. interests.
A spokesman for the president – who has clashed with the former colonial ruler over several issues – said he decided to pull the plug on the two-decade troop rotation pact to enable the Philippines to be more independent with its relations with other countries.
“As the President said, it’s about time we rely on our own resources, we have to strengthen our own capability as a country relative to the defense of our land.”
The decision could complicate U.S. military interests in the Asia-Pacific as China’s ambitions rise.
It will also limit Philippine access to U.S. training and expertise in tackling Islamist extremism, natural disasters, and maritime security threats.
The U.S. embassy in Manila called it “a serious step with significant implications.”
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