Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is planning to scrap joint military training exercises with the US.
In a speech to Filipinos in Hanoi late Wednesday, Duterte said a nine-day training exercise between American and Filipino troops scheduled to start October 4 in the Philippines would be the last.
“I would serve notice to you now that this will be the last military exercise,” he said in Hanoi, where he was on a two-day visit. “Jointly, Philippines-US, the last one.”
Despite planning to end the joint training exercises, Duterte said he would "maintain the military alliance [with the US] because there is a pact which our countries signed in the early 50s.”
Relations between the Philippines and the US have increasingly come under strain since Washington criticized Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, which has left at least 1,247 people dead.
Duterte has hit back at the US, even threatening to curse at President Barack Obama if he brought up the issue of human rights violations at a regional summit in Laos earlier in the month.
He has vowed to build “alliances for trade and commerce” with other countries such as China and Russia instead of relying on the country’s relations with the US.