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The Philippines and the United States yesterday launched war games against the backdrop of the unusual threat of American forces being ejected from the Southeast Asian nation, as its firebrand leader pivots to China.
President Duterte has sustained a verbal assault on the United States, the Philippines’ former colonial ruler and mutual defense partner, since he took office on June 30 in response to criticism of his deadly war on crime.
Duterte has, in recent days, warned the war games will be the last of his six-year term, and threatened to scrap a defense pact implemented by his predecessor that was meant to see more US troops in the Philippines to counter Chinese expansion in the South China Sea.
“Better think twice now because I will be asking you to leave the Philippines altogether,” Duterte said on Sunday in his latest outburst against the Americans, full of typical invective.
“The Americans, I don’t like them…they are reprimanding me in public. So I say: “Screw you, fuck you,” he said, while signaling again that he wanted to forge closer alliances with China and Russia.
Last week, Duterte, 71, also claimed the Central Intelligence Agency was plotting to assassinate him.
This came after he branded Barack Obama a “son of a whore” in response to being told the US President planned to raise human rights concerns over his drug war.
Duterte has vowed to eradicate illegal drugs in the Philippines, warning the nation is in danger of becoming a narco state.
His crime war has seen more than 3,000 people killed, with the United Nations, the European Union, and rights groups raising concerns about alleged extrajudicial killings and a breakdown in the rule of law.
Duterte has insisted he is not doing anything illegal, yet, at the same time, said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug users. (AFP)