Philippines informs Trump they're ending longtime military pact with U.S. - warming up to China instead
The Philippines no longer desires to be in a military pact with the United States. The country informed the Trump administration on Tuesday, officially ending a longtime security blanket for America.
President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to terminate the pact, the Visiting Forces Agreement, comes at the same time he is warming up to China. The pact has allowed American troops to train in the country for decades.
This is a major tactical blow and it's impact cannot be overstated. Just to give you an idea of how bad this is for American forces, nearly 300 joint exercises are held annually between the American and Philippine militaries. That's all in jeopardy now.
“The deputy chief of mission of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement,” Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said.
President Duerte says Trump can't change his mind, no matter what he does:
“Trump and others are trying to save the Visiting Forces Agreement. I told them, I do not want to. One is that Americans are very ill mannered. America is very rude. They are so rude."
He isn't concerned with a stronger China, either:
“They do not mean harm,” as long as “we do not also do something that is harmful to them.”
This is just the latest example of Trump's impact on the world. Even our closest allies are re-examining our relationship with them militarily. Technically, the agreement hasn't ended yet, but the clock is ticking. It will end in 180 days, which isn't a very long amount of time, and then what? The Pentagon is scrambling right now.
We can't say we didn't see this coming, either. Just a few months ago the Philippines banned two United States officials from visiting the country. They also threatened introducing tighter entry restrictions for US citizens.
"We will not sit idly if they continue to interfere with our processes as a sovereign state," Philippine presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said at the time.