Next PH-US joint military exercise will be last to avoid antagonizing China – Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte said that the next joint military exercises between the United States and the Philippines will be the last one within his term to avoid antagonizing China.

“You (US) are scheduled to hold war games again which China does not want. I will serve notice to you now, this will be the last military exercise,” Duterte said.

He made the announcement during his speech in front of the Filipino community at the Intercontinental Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam during his official visit on Wednesday, September 28.

Duterte added that he decided to make the announcement himself to avoid putting Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in an awkward position.

The Philippines and the US signed a Mutual Defense Treaty in 1951, as well as a Visiting Forces Agreement in 1998, which authorized the US-PH joint military exercises, or “Balikatan” exercises. The military exercises aimed to improve the defense capability of the Philippine soldiers.


The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the two countries allows US troops, ships and planes to have increased rotational presence in Philippine military bases and to build facilities for their equipment and fuel.

However, Duterte gave his assurance once more that he will respect military alliances with the US while establishing economic alliances with China and Russia.

Rappler quoted him saying: “So I am serving notice now to the Americans, I will maintain the military alliance… but I will establish new alliances in trade and commerce.”

During the same speech in Hanoi, Duterte reiterated his earlier statement about stopping the joint patrol with the US in the disputed South China Sea, which started earlier this year before Duterte assumed office. The joint patrols were meant to establish freedom of navigation in the disputed sea.

Duterte’s declaration to end joint military exercises came amid tensions brought about by The Hague ruling favoring the Philippines in its claim over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which Beijing does not recognize.

Duterte has expressed his desire to take a different approach that will not cut down any chances of engaging Beijing in bilateral talks.

Here’s a video of ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) showing Duterte giving the Americans notice on how the October military exercises will be the last one:


Sources: (,


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