Trump’s relationship with Philippines faces HUGE tensions after military pact ripped up

Trump’s relationship with Philippines faces HUGE tensions after military pact ripped up

Daily Express - World·1.1k views·2020-02-15 11:01

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Mr Duterte’s administration told the US it would be terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries, which has been active since 1998. The primary effect of the agreement is that it allows the US government to retain jurisdiction over US military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines. This is the case as long as the crimes are not “of particular importance to the Philippines”.

The agreement also enabled US military personnel to pass in and out of the Philippines without visas or passports.

It appears Mr Duterte’s decision was sparked by the revocation of a US visa of one of his political allies who led his war on drugs.

This could potentially complicate US military interests in the region.

Mr Duterte has previously criticised US intervention and the benefits of the alliance.

He did, however, heap praise upon China and Russia.

University of Manila international studies professor, Rommel Banlaoi, said: “It’s a very unpopular decision.

“The president is just conveying his desire to redefine the Philippines’s relationship with the US - in other words, he wants a better deal.”

But the US President was determined to brush off the announcement.

He told journalists: “I never minded that very much, to be honest.

“We helped the Philippines very much. We helped them defeat ISIS.

“I don’t really mind if they would like to do that, it will save a lot of money. But my views are different from other people.

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“I view it as, ‘Thank you very much, we’ll save a lot of money’.”

Mr Trump went on to add his relationship with Mr Duterte was “very good”.

And US Defence Secretary Mark Esper added the situation was “unfortunate”.

The Philippines has received billions of dollars in foreign aid from the United States.

Delfin Lorenzana, Defence Secretary for the Philippines, said his country has received $1.3billion in military assistance since 1998.

The US sends 500 to 600 troops to the Philippines on a continuous basis.

They have worked to reduce the number of attacks from Islamic-state groups on the Muslim-majority island, Mindanao, where Mr Duterte is himself from.

Despite a fairly consistent relationship with the US, the Philippines has struggled to define this under Mr Duterte’s leadership.

The nations were recently working to strengthen a 2014 defence agreement.

It would see more US military structures on Philippines bases.

The future of the relationship between the US and the Philippines now hangs in the balance.

The agreement as it stands will come to an end in 180 days.

Government SE Asia Philippines Politics News

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