Wednesday, June 12, 2024
 
 

Trump ‘does not mind’ if Philippines ends military pact with US

EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO / POOL
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to US President Donald J. Trump (R) before the opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines,13 November 2017. The Philippines is hosting the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings from 10 to 14 November.

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US president Donald Trump brushed aside the decision of his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte to end the military agreement with the United States, saying he did not really mind and it would save money.
Last month, the country’s president Rodrigo Duterte threatened to terminate the deal, if the reported cancellation of the visa of his political ally, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, was not corrected within a month.
“Well I never minded that very much, to be honest. We helped the Philippines very much. We helped them defeat ISIS. I don’t really mind if they would like to do that, it will save a lot of money. My views are different from others”, Trump said.
The Visiting Forces Agreement allows US forces to train in the Philippines. They have provided intelligence, training and aid that allowed the Philippines to deal with human trafficking, cyberattacks, illegal narcotics and terrorism. They also helped Filipino end a siege by Islamic State group-aligned militants in 2017.
Trump added he had “a very good” relationship with Duterte. “We’ll see what happens”, he said. The Philippines has received more than half-a-billion dollars in security assistance from the US from 2016 to 2019.
The US military presence has also blocked aggressive actions in the disputed South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Vietnam and three other governments have rival claims to the strategic waterway. However, Philippine nationalists say the US did nothing to stop China building islands equipped with missiles in the South China Sea.

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