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Thursday, September 29, 2016, 12:14

Duterte to scrap future war games with US

By Associated Press

Duterte to scrap future war games with US
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses Philippine Marines in suburban Taguig city east of Manila, Philippines, Sept 27, 2016. Duterte used an expletive to warn key ally US President Barack Obama not to lecture him on human rights and declared a dramatic policy change such as removing US counterterrorism forces out of his country's volatile south. (Bullit Marquez / AP)

HANOI, Vietnam — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he was giving notice to the United States, his country's long-standing ally, that joint exercises of Filipino and American troops next week will be the last such drills.

He told the Filipino community in Hanoi late Wednesday night that he will maintain the military alliance with the US because of the countries' 1951 defense treaty. But added next week's exercises will proceed only because he did not want to embarrass his defense secretary.

Duterte said during a two-day visit to meet Vietnam's leaders that he wants to establish new trade and commercial alliances with China and Russia.

"I would serve notice to you now that this will be the last military exercise," he said. "Jointly, Philippines-US, the last one."

"I will maintain the military alliance because there is an RP-US pact which our countries signed in the early '50s," he said, referring to the Republic of the Philippines.

Duterte has had an uneasy relationship with the US since he won a presidential election in May. He says he is charting a foreign policy not dependent on the US, and has taken steps to revive ties with China.

Earlier this month, he said he would not allow government forces to conduct joint patrols of disputed waters near the South China Sea with foreign powers, apparently scrapping a deal his predecessor reached with the US military earlier this year.

He has said he wants US military forces out of the southern Philippines and blamed America for inflaming local Muslim insurgencies there.

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