Wall Street Journal: Duterte Signals Shift in U.S.-Philippine Military Alliance
Focus on combating drugs, insurgencies, not patrolling South China Sea
MANILA—Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his defense secretary on Tuesday to seek gear from suppliers in China and Russia to fight drug traffickers and insurgents, signaling an abrupt departure from his nation’s longstanding military reliance on the U.S.
In another possible shift of significance, he also said the Philippines would stop patrolling the South China Sea alongside the U.S. Navy, to avoid upsetting Beijing. Instead, he said the nation’s military would focus on combating drugs and terrorism.
The Philippines has enjoyed close ties with the U.S. for decades, most recently bolstering military cooperation through a 2014 pact. Both Washington and Manila have leveraged their alliance to balance an increasingly assertive China.
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WNU Editor: There are a lot of mixed messages coming from the Philippine government .... Rodrigo Duterte forced to retract US military deal comments (IBTimes).
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Duterte Demands Departure of U.S. Military Advisers from the Philippines -- WSJ
Duterte wants U.S. troops out of southern Philippines -- USA Today
Duterte wants US forces out of southern Philippines -- FOX News
Duterte Wants U.S. Special Forces to Leave South Philippines -- Bloomberg
Relations with US ‘rock solid’ despite president’s calls for troop withdrawal - Philippines military -- RT