Philippines President Duterte vows to end joint US military drills

Duterte says the scheduled October military exercises would be the last joint drill with the United States.

Philippines President Duterte vows to end joint US military drills
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at a Filipino Community Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam Reuters

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday that he will soon end the joint military drills with the United States, a step that might further spoil the relations between both the nations who had a longtime alliance.

During his speech at an upscale Hanoi hotel, Duterte said the October military exercises, which are already scheduled to take place from October 4 to 12 in the Philippines, would be the last joint drill.

"I will serve notice to you now, that this will be the last military exercise, jointly Philippines-US, the last one," he told AFP.

The Philippine-US Amphibious Landing Exercises (Phiblex) would follow the larger annual Balikatan exercises in April involving more than 8,000 forces from both sides.

In recent weeks, the allies have quarreled on a lot of issues and Duterte clearly said he would not allow the United States, the country's former colonial power to "impose anything" on them.

He vowed to eject US Special Forces from the country's troubled south.

Duterte had to face a lot of criticism from the United States, the European Union parliament and the United Nations over his bloody war against crime that has claimed more than 3,700 lives since he took office in June.

US President Barack Obama said Duterte must conduct his crime war "the right way" by protecting human rights.

But, the Philippine President rejected all the criticism and branded Obama as a "son of a whore".

The 71-year-old leader laughed off all those criticisms on Wednesday and said: "I am the favourite whipping boy now of the human rights (groups) all over the world."

The defence ties between the Philippines and the United States date back to 1951 and the annual joint military exercises have been a pillar of the alliance. But, with all these moves of Duterte, the possibility of continuing the longtime U.S. ally has reduced.

In his two-day official visit to Vietnam, Duterte is scheduled to meet the political top brass of Vietnam on Thursday to discuss maritime freedom and boosting economic and defence ties.

Manila and Hanoi are together in separate conflicts with powerhouse Beijing over the territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea.