Philippine leader Duterte says he wants foreign troops out

Posted October 28, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, second left in white outfit, and Satoshi Nakajima, front right, commander of Japanese coast guard, shake hands at a Japan Coast Guard base in Yokohama, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016.

Since Duterte took office in June, Manila's relationship with Washington has quickly become strained.

During his four-day state visit to China last week, and his first to a country outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Duterte proved to be more than a man of his words.

Japan is a staunch USA ally and hosts 50,000 American troops, while Duterte has repeatedly spoken of distancing his country from Washington, often in crude terms. "We will recover, I assure you".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he wants U.S. troops out of his country in the next two years, amid rising tensions between Manila and Washington. The Philippines hosts US troops in five military camps under a security deal signed by Duterte's predecessor as a counter to China's growing military assertiveness in the region.

The close relationship between Philippines and the United States, while complicated and at times acrimonious, has existed for more than a century, and the Philippines has been the closest USA ally in the region for 70 years.

But Duterte has already said he wants United States troops out of Mindanao because their presences tokes tensions on the island where Islamic militants have waged a decades-long separatist insurgency.

"I want them out and if I have to revise or abrogate agreements, executive agreements, I will", he added. "I do not need the arms".

But Duterte did not give Tokyo a firm commitment when the China-Philippines territorial dispute in the South China Sea and Beijing's moves to establish a military foothold in those waters were raised. I do not need to have the Air Force hosting bombers with hydrogen bombs.

Japan announced loans totalling21.3-billion yen (R2.8-billion) to help improve the Philippines' maritime safety as well promote peace and agriculture on Mindanao.

"This will be the last maneuver war games between the United States and the Philippines' military", he said of an event hosted in recent weeks by the Philippines.

Abe was expected to hold another round of talks with Duterte later Wednesday and was expected to ask him specifically about his foreign policy.

Last week, during a visit to Beijing, Duterte, who has expressed a desire to be "closer to China", declared a "separation" from the USA, before later going back on his words, saying that he didn't mean a complete separation, BBC reported.

Aries Arugay, an assistant professor in the department of political science at the University of the Philippines Diliman, said that while the Philippines was the "most pro-American public in the world", Duterte's anti-US rhetoric has resonated with many in the Philippines, especially considering the country's history as a United States colony. Washington and Manila signed a defense agreement in 2014 that opened the door to stationing of USA forces on Philippine soil.

Prince Mikasa, the younger brother of former Emperor Hirohito, died Thursday at the age of 100.