To prevent the escalation of the country’s territorial conflict with China, President Duterte is planning to halt the Philippines’ annual military exercises with the United States.
Addressing the Filipino community in Hanoi last Wednesday night, the President announced that the upcoming joint military drills between Filipino and American troops would be the “last” between the two allies.
The President said the government would honor longstanding military treaties with the United States but would no longer participate in future US-led sea patrols in the South China Sea to prevent antagonizing China.
“You are scheduled to hold war games again, which China does not want. I would serve notice to you now that this will be the last military exercise. Jointly, Philippines-US, the last one,” Duterte said.
“I’m serving notice now to the Americans and to those who are allies: I will maintain the military alliance because there is an RP-US pact which our countries signed in the early ‘50s but I will establish new alliances for trade and commerce,” he added.
Duterte was referring to the Mutual Defense Treaty signed by the Philippines and the United States in 1951. Under the pact, the two allies would support each other in case one is under attack.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is set to hold joint naval exercises with their US counterparts in Luzon next month. The war games involve amphibious landing exercise, live-fire training, and human civic assistance efforts. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)