Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Duterte on US Alliance: 'Do You Really Think We Need It?' |

Duterte on US Alliance: 'Do You Really Think We Need It?' | Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he will not abrogate a defense treaty with the United States but questioned its importance and that of joint combat exercises, which he says only benefit America.

Duterte pressed his criticism of the United States and his country's engagement with the American military in a speech as U.S. Marines and their Philippine counterparts ended combat drills a day early in a separate ceremony. A U.S. general, in contrast, underscored the need for the joint drills to brace for potential crises.

Duterte, who labels himself a socialist, has had an uneasy relationship with the U.S. and a falling out with President Barack Obama, whom he has lambasted for criticizing his deadly anti-drug fight. Despite his constant anti-U.S. pronouncements, Duterte said he would not abrogate the mutual defense treaty with the U.S. but questioned the need for it.

"I do not mean to cancel or abrogate the military alliances," Duterte said in a speech before new government officials at the presidential palace. "But let me ask you ... do you really think we need it?"