In addition to ending South China Sea operations, Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said his president will soon ask 107 us troops in the southern part of the country to leave and will halt 28 annual joint military exercises.
United States and Philippine defense and military officials are to meet later this month to thresh out the issues concerning military-to-military relations between the two nations.
Lorenzana had on Wednesday set a conciliatory tone, saying Duterte may have been misinformed when he said US-Philippine military exercises were of no benefit to his country.
While critical of the U.S., Duterte has reached out to China and Russian Federation. Some may see it as an effort on the part of Mr. Duterte to act on the nationalist rhetoric that propelled him to power. I don't want to antagonize you but try to give us a little respect. Lorenzana implied the move might be temporary.
United States officials had repeatedly said they had not been officially informed of Duterte's comments. One recent example of cooperation: the Enhanced Defense Coordination Agreement. The forces are training Filipino troops fighting Islamist militants and have been on the island since 2002, when they were deployed as part of the global war on terrorism.
Duterte, describing their statements as an 'interference, ' lashed back at his critics for their supposed hypocrisy and failure to end atrocities in their respective countries. The poll was held just a month after he took office on 30 June, and the two polls are not comparable. His "strongman" image, in addition to falling crime rates, makes him extremely popular within the Philippines.
Philipine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana joined the country's leader on Friday in signaling a shift away from relying on Washington.
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However, the defense secretary said he has yet to clarify with Duterte the plan to cancel all joint war games altogether.
He said there may be some issues of compatibility with defence procurements from Russian Federation and China, which were willing to sell to the Philippines.
"We suspended it first, they know it already", he said.
The Duterte administration appears to be exploring whether the Philippines can protect itself without help from the US. The defense secretary said, however, the pullout would take place once Manila acquired intelligence-gathering capabilities.
A September 2 bomb attack that killed 15 people at a night market in his southern hometown of Davao prompted him to declare a "state of lawlessness" to empower the government to harness troops in countering militant threats in urban areas.
Some 3,600 people have been killed in his anti-drugs drive, which has drawn a backlash from the United States and others.
Emma Naggy, deputy spokesman of the U.S. embassy in Manila, insisted that the relationship with Manila is stable and both countries have to move forward.