Philippines' Duterte says he is against 2014 defense pact with US
Updated: 2016-11-11 09:55
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks after arriving from Malaysia, at Davao International airport in Davao city in southern Philippines, November 11, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
MANILA - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that he is against the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that Manila and Washington signed in 2014, hinting again that he might just scrap the agreement that allows prolonged deployment of American forces in the country as well as build logistics hub in Philippine military bases.
Duterte, who arrived early Friday back in Davao City from an overnight official visit to Malaysia, told a news conference that he does not want to see any foreign troops on Philippine soil.
He added that the joint military activities that will be carried out this year by the Philippine and U.S. troops would probably be the last.
In fact, he said that he only gave the go-ahead for the EDCA activities to push through this year because they were already firmed up by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
"By the time I talked to (Lorenzana) the arrangement has already been firmed up. I do not want to embarrass the Philippines and, of course, not so much because I was already vocal against it. But in deference to the secretary of defense I said go ahead but this should be the last time," Duterte said.
Last month he also told a business forum in Tokyo during his visit in Japan, "I want, maybe, in the next two years, my country, freed of the presence of foreign military troops. I want them out, and if I have to revise or abrogate agreements, executive agreements, I will."
Asked whether there would be changes in policies with the new US administration, Duterte said, "I will pursue what I've started."
"I'm not into the habit of reneging on my word. And my partnership with China and the rest of the ASEAN remains. I will sail the stake of the nation and it should be pushed by the wind of self-interest only, self-interest of our nation," Duterte said.
He reiterated that the Philippines will continue to honor the treaties that the Philippines signed with the U.S., including the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.
Duterte reiterated that he is against the joint war games between the Philippines and U.S. forces, saying only the U.S. soldiers benefit from these exercises. Besides, he said that the Americans do not share their sophisticated and state-of the-art communication equipment to Philippine troops.
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