Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte © Erik De Castro / Reuters
Wall Street Journal: Philippines Leader to End Joint Military Exercises, Naval Patrols With U.S.
President Rodrigo Duterte wants to avoid upsetting China, with which he wants stronger trade and investment ties.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said joint military exercises scheduled next month between the Philippines and the U.S. will be the last for the longtime allies, as he seeks to avoid upsetting China, with which he hopes to build stronger trade and investment ties.
He also said he would end routine joint naval patrols in the South China Sea.
“I will serve notice to you now that this will be the last military exercise,” Mr. Duterte said to an audience of some 350 Filipinos in Hanoi, where he is on a two-day state visit to Vietnam
Still, the Philippine leader reaffirmed that his country’s cooperation with the U.S. stands. “I will maintain the military alliance—the RP-US pact, which our countries signed in the early 50s,” Mr. Duterte said.
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Update #1: Duterte declares upcoming Philippines-U.S. war games 'the last one' -- Reuters
Update #2: Duterte Calls for End to US-Philippine Military Exercises, Part of Tilt Towards China -- The Diplomat
WNU Editor: They are opening the champagne bottles in Beijing.