The Philippines notified the United States on Tuesday it intends to end a major security pact allowing American forces to train in the country. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a tweet Manila’s notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement was received by the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Manila. He refused to provide other details on the drastic step "as a diplomatic courtesy." Locsin signed the notice on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has often criticized US security policies while praising those of China and Russia despite the Philippine military’s close historic ties with its American counterpart, the AP reports.
In a hearing last week, Locsin warned that abrogating the security accord with Washington would undermine Philippine security and foster Chinese aggression in the disputed South China Sea. Terminating the agreement would affect more than 300 joint exercises and other activities this year with US forces, "which the Philippine military and law enforcement agencies need to enhance their capabilities in countering threats to national security,” Locsin told lawmakers. Duterte threatened to terminate the security agreement after Washington reportedly canceled the US visa of a loyal ally, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who was linked to human rights violations when he first enforced the president’s deadly anti-drug crackdown as the national police chief in 2016.
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