Philippines to end US troops agreement

Philippines to pull out of military pact with US

Philippines tells U.S. it's ending major security pact

The Philippines may find it hard to access millions of dollars in military aid, and trade relations may also be hurt once the pact is terminated, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said last week.

"The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the Notice of Termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement". "As a diplomatic courtesy, there will be no further factual announcements following this self-explanatory development".

The current Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States embassy in Manila is John Law.

Koh said the defense buildups of other Southeast Asian countries, their "defense and security arrangements with a more diversified pool of external parties, and the significant amount of interest by such countries as Australia, France, India, Japan and the United Kingdom to enhance military presence in the region" could provide "some compensatory effect on the VFA's termination".

The US provided more than $550m in security assistance to the Philippines from 2016 to 2019, Locsin said, adding that there may be a "chilling effect on our economic relations" if the Philippines withdraws from the security alliance with Washington. "Our two countries enjoy a warm relationship, deeply rooted in history. We remain committed to the friendship between our two peoples", it added.

President Duterte's unilateral abrogation of the 21-year-old VFA reduced the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) to a mere paper treaty as far as the U.S. is concerned.

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Those cover dozens of annual training exercises and broaden access of USA air, navy and army forces and equipment to the Philippines, as well as bind the two countries to defend each other from external aggression.

The VFA is a 1998 agreement between Manila and Washington on the protocol for American military personnel in the country.

Malacañang on Sunday denied that some Cabinet members have clashed over President Rodrigo Duterte's stance on the termination of the Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States (US).

Supporters of the agreements argue they have deterred Chinese militarisation in the South China Sea and $1.3 billion of US defence assistance since 1998 has been vital in boosting the capabilities of under-resourced Philippine forces.

In a speech Monday, Duterte said President Trump moved to save the agreement but he rejected the idea.

"Putting at risk, I don't think anyone in the government of the Philippines would want to put at risk the numerous engagements", Cooper said. Nonetheless, as we continue to see headlines roll in about the VFA's termination, it will be important to keep the contours of its significance in mind. This is why from a critical operation standpoint the necessity to have some sort of agreement to ensure these exercises can take place unimpeded.

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United States embassy officials did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Duterte said even US President Donald Trump wanted him to change his mind.

"As with many other decisions made by President Duterte, China appears to be the biggest victor and Philippine external security the biggest loser", Cook said. Reyes said this requires presence of U.S. troops.

Locsin signed the notice on the order of Duterte, who has often criticized US security policies while praising those of China and Russian Federation despite the Philippine military's close historic ties with its American counterpart.

The abrogation of the VFA may have technical implications on American troops in the Philippines, but it may not necessarily mean that bilateral military training and exchanges will be curtailed, Koh said.

Panelo told reporters that the nation is open to signing VFAs with other countries as long as they are "mutually beneficial, not one-sided". "The expulsion of the USA led to China's occupation of Mischief Reef in 1995", Thayer said. We have to strengthen our own capability as a country relative to the defense of our land.

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