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article imagePhilippine President Duterte ends US Visiting Forces Agreement

By Ken Hanly     Feb 12, 2020 in Politics
Manila - The Philippines has officially notified the US that it is scrapping a security pact allowing US forces to train and take part in joint exercises in the country.
Rodrigo Duterte the Philippine president has for some time threatened to move away from the Philippine's long term relationship as a strong ally of the US and turn more towards China.
The visiting forces agreement (VFA)
_ was signed in 1998. The VFA accords legal status to thousands of American troops rotated in the country for humanitarian assistance and military exercises. There are dozens of visits taking place annually. Duterte's foreign secretary tweeted that official notice had been given to end the VFA. The notice begins a 180-day waiting period and then the agreement ends.
A Duterte spokesperson, Salvador Penelo quoting Duterte said: “It’s about time we rely on ourselves. We will strengthen our own defences and not rely on any other country.” Throughout his more than three years in office Duterte has often denounced the US for hypocrisy and for treating the Philippines as if it were a dog on a leash. However this is the first time that Duterte has actually scrapped a treaty with the US.
Duterte makes move after US revokes the visa of an ally
Duterte had warned Washington last month that he would cancel the agreement after the US had revoked a travel visa that had been issued to former police chief Ronald dela Rosa. Dela Rosa said the visa had been rescinded over an issue related to the detention of a senator who was a critic of dela Rosa. Dela Rosa had been the top commander of Duterte's war on drugs which killed hundreds if not thousands of drug traffickers.
Trump brushes off Duterte decision
While you might think that Trump would show concern about losing the Philippines as an ally with close military relations with the US, his response was rather nonchalant verging on the positive: "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 has often been critical of the fact that countries that have US troops in them do not pay the US enough for their upkeep.
More about US Philippine relations, visiting forces agreement Philippines, President Duterte
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