Baku, February 12, AZERTAC
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced the termination of a two-decade-old Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States (VFA), delivering on threats to downgrade an alliance important to U.S. interests, Reuters reported.
The mercurial Duterte, who has clashed with the former colonial ruler over several issues, decided to pull the plug on the two-decade troop rotation pact to enable the Philippines to be more independent in its relations with other countries, spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“The president will not entertain any initiative coming from the U.S. government to salvage the VFA, neither will he accept any official invitation to visit the United States,” Panelo said in a statement.
The decision, sparked by the revocation of a U.S. visa held by a former police chief who led Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, could complicate U.S. military interests in the Asia-Pacific region as China’s ambitions rise.
It would also limit Philippine access to U.S. training and expertise in tackling Islamist extremism, natural disasters and maritime security threats.
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