US-PH combat drills announced under critical Duterte | Global News

US-PH combat drills announced under critical Duterte

/ 11:42 AM September 23, 2016

US embassy philippines rally

Filipino activists are blocked by police during a rally near the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. Left-wing activists held the protest to mark the 25th anniversary of the Philippine Senate’s rejection of the renewal of a lease agreement that lead to the closure of major US bases in the Philippines and to urge Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to oppose existing security agreements that allow temporary US military presence in the country. AP

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine military officials on Thursday announced the first large-scale combat exercises between US and Filipino forces under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been critical of American security policies.

Military officials said the annual maneuvers by about 1,400 US military personnel and 500 Philippine marines will involve amphibious landing and live-fire exercises at a northern gunnery range from Oct 4 to 12.


Describing himself as a socialist, Duterte has had an uneasy relationship with the US He has said he is charting a foreign policy not dependent on the US, a treaty ally, and has taken steps to revive ties with China, which had been strained under his predecessor over longstanding territorial conflicts.


He repeated in a speech Thursday that he would not allow Filipino forces to conduct joint patrols with the US military in the disputed South China Sea because that could spark an armed conflict in Philippine territory. He has also said he wants US forces out of the country’s south, where he said minority Muslims resent the presence of American troops.

READ: US: No formal request from Philippines to remove military

Still, Duterte has said he will not abrogate the mutual defense treaty with the US and will maintain the long alliance with America./rga

READ: Duterte changes tune: We need US after all

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TAGS: drills, Military, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, US

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