The president of the Philippines has come out with a new show of strength. And it is again about the United States.
After creating a media furor not long ago, the Filipino president is in the news again. Last time, he made headlines by very strongly telling the US not to interfere. The issue was the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. And the question from the press was about the US having a position regarding that.
Last time, Duterte said that the Philippines are no longer a colony. Additionally, he used a very vulgar word. That seemed to be about American president Barack Obama.
Duterte Opposes Troops
As a result, the Filipino president’s outburst led to the cancelling of a high-level meeting between the two heads of state. Now, Duterte is making statements regarding the US military.
With this, it looks like relations between the United States and the Philippines are deteriorating.
This Monday, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said that he wants the Special Forces belonging to the US military out of the country. He implied that America is to blame for insurgencies taking place in the region. Reportedly, the Muslim insurgencies are allegedly stoked by American presence in the country.
Nevertheless, this is president Duterte’s first public statement that opposes the presence of US troops. He became president this June and has created a strong image for himself. But since June, this is the first time he talked about the issue.
Contacted by the media, the US side brushed off Duterte’s comments. Washington said that it had not received what should be a formal request from the Philippines. The White House spoke about a formal request to, in effect, remove US military personnel from the country. A spokesman said that Duterte has the habit of making “colorful comments”. Reiterating Barack Obama’s reaction to the president’s attitude.
The Philippines and America
All in all, the Philippines are an ally and a treaty partner for the United States. So far, relations between the two countries had been stable and productive.
Since Duterte assumed the presidency in June, his relationship with the United States has been rocky. He wants to forge a new type of foreign policy for his country. One that does not depend on the US. Projecting an autonomous stance, Duterte has been negative about America. He openly criticized American security policies.
The US military was in the Philippines to help the Filipino fight a militant group called Abu Sayyaf. It is a muslim militant group that operates in the southern part of the Philippines. There is every indication that the group has ties to terrorist network, Al Qaeda. The US military deployed resources to the southern Philippines. The goal was to train, to advise and to supply intelligence as well as weapons to Filipino troops.
The United States decided last year to pull out most of the troops in the Philippines. The only military personnel remaining in the country is a small number of military advisers. They are there to support the Filipino military. Offering advice and expertise.
It is regarding this small number of military personnel that president Duterte made comments.
Image source: here.