Manila, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines suspended his decision again on Monday End major defense pact with the United States, He asked to provide more help and a coronavirus vaccine in exchange for maintaining the agreement.
Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin, without giving details, said Duterte had suspended the abolition of the visiting forces agreement for another six months to allow both sides to address his concerns. Termination of agreement It will hit one of Asia’s oldest alliances.
In February last year, the Duterte administration notified the US government of its intention to allow a large number of US troops to enter the country for joint combat training with the Philippine troops and to abolish the 1998 agreement stipulating the legal conditions for temporary stay.
The operation involved thousands of US and Philippine personnel in land, sea, and air training, which often included pre-pandemic live-fire exercises.
The termination of the agreement will come into effect 180 days later, Duterte has repeatedly delayed the effectiveness of his decision.
Secretary of Defense Delphin Lorenzana welcomed the president’s decision and said the two governments would give more time to consider the agreement.
“Our bilateral cooperation with the United States aims to maintain our national interests and, to the extent necessary, strengthen the defense capabilities of the Philippines,” said Lorenzana.
Duterte said in February that “they have to pay” if the United States wants to maintain the agreement.
“It’s a joint responsibility, but your sharing of responsibilities isn’t free,” Duterte said then.
In December, he warned that the United States would proceed with the abolition if it did not provide at least 20 million doses of vaccine.
“If you can’t get at least 20 million vaccines, it’s better to escape. I don’t have any vaccines or stay here,” Duterte said.
Critics called Duterte in a statement that Senator Panfilo Lacson, who heads the Senate on Defense and generally supports Duterte, “may have given the impression that the Philippines is a country of robbers.” Attacked. “You can’t put a price tag on the value,” Laxon said of the visiting forces agreement.
Duterte often criticizes US security policy while fostering relations with China and Russia. But his Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense cite the importance of the US alliance.
U.S. military presence in the region is balanced with China, which is aggressively asserting claims against the vast region of the South China Sea in conflict, despite a 2016 international arbitration ruling that invalidated historical grounds. Is seen as. China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and three other governments have been trapped in territorial conflicts for decades.
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/defense-news/home/~3/EZeeSSFP0fA/ President of the Philippines again delays the abolition of major security agreements with the United States