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Philippines' Duterte sets 2022 date to dismiss U.S. troops

By
Amy R. Connolly
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, seen here waving goodbye to Vietnamese fishermen on November 2, said Friday he plans to remove U.S. troops from the country by the end of his term in 2022. Photo by Mark R. Cristino/European Press Agency
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, seen here waving goodbye to Vietnamese fishermen on November 2, said Friday he plans to remove U.S. troops from the country by the end of his term in 2022. Photo by Mark R. Cristino/European Press Agency

MANILA, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday he plans to dismiss U.S. troops from the country by the end of his term in 2022, a move seen as a way to shore up ties with China and Russia.

Duterte said the country will continue its military pact that gives U.S. troops access to Philippine bases under President-elect Donald Trump's administration, but said the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2014 would end. He said he plans to stop war games conducted between the Philippine military and its allies. The exercises scheduled in 2017 with the United States will go on as planned, but that will be the last, he said.

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"By the time I end my term, I do not want to see any -- not only the U.S. but even African or Chinese or whatever -- I do not want to see foreign military troops in my country," he said.

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Duterte, known for his erratic leadership style and off-the-cuff remarks, has long indicated he plans to loosen the country's reliance on the U.S. military and bolster ties with China and Russia. Earlier this week, he reversed his position of not allowing military drills between the armed forces of the Philippines and the United States after hearing from his national defense team.

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