Duterte: Tirades vs United States only my 'personal views'

"I want, maybe in the next two years, my country [to be] free of the presence of foreign military troops", Duterte said at the Philippine Economic Forum in Tokyo.

Duterte last week announced in China his "separation" from the United States, but then insisted ties were not being severed and that he was merely pursuing an independent foreign policy.

He was referring to visiting USA troops, whose presence in five Philippine military camps was established under a security deal signed under Duterte's predecessor as a counterbalance to China's growing military assertiveness in the region.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte once again bristled at Western criticism of his war on drugs, declaring Wednesday that Manila would not be reliant on USA support.

Duterte repeated his intention to one day scrap the military alliance between the Philippines and USA, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Duterte did not fail to touch on one of his favorite talking points of late: his beef with the United States for criticizing his campaign against illegal drugs. "I want them out". "They are treating us like dogs on a leash", he said. The Japanese leader is expected to gauge just how far Duterte really wants to move away from the U.S., Japan's closest security ally.

In their Wednesday talks, Duterte and Abe agreed on the importance of settling maritime disputes peacefully.

"It was never a state-sponsored killing but those were the infightings of the police generals and some military men and a lot of policemen, 6,000 of them, cleansing and hoping they would make it clean before I assumed office", he said.

"There was nothing to discuss because there was no specific instruction from the president", the official said, adding there are indications the Philippines will scale down the exercises.

"We will survive without the assistance of America".

"It is in this context that we will not be undertaking (them) during (Duterte's) administration especially so that we are trying to resolve this disputes with China in a peaceful manner", Yasay told a separate news conference.

Abe, who has boosted ties with Washington in a bid to counter Beijing, has sought to improve Manila's defence capabilities by providing it with more than US$300 million in loans for patrol vessels.

Duterte echoed Suga's words in an interview with Japanese media before his arrival in Tokyo, saying that the Philippines' relationship with Japan was deep and special.

Philippine navy Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado, commander of the military's Western Command, said the maneuvers including emergency diving procedures and operating sonar equipment were held in the western Philippine province of Palawan facing the disputed South China Sea. After two rounds of talks with Abe, he is attending a banquet hosted by the Japanese leader.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte left Japan on Thursday without meeting Emperor Akihito as their scheduled meeting had to be canceled because of the death of the emperor's uncle.



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