No more war games with Washington: Philippines’ Duterte

No more war games with Washington: Philippines’ DutertePhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared on Wednesday that upcoming U.S.-Philippines military exercises would be "the last," and ruled out any joint navy patrols.

Duterte pledged to honor a longstanding security treaty with the United States, but said China opposed joint marine drills in the Philippines starting next week and there would be no more war games with Washington after that.

"I am serving notice now to the Americans, this will be the last military exercise," Duterte said during a visit to Vietnam. "Jointly, Philippines-U.S.: the last one."

Still Duterte's Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay later said his comments had been taken out of context. The only thing Duterte had ruled out were joint patrols beyond the Philippines' 12-nautical mile territorial waters, Yasay said.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said he was not aware of any official notification from the Philippines about ending joint exercises.

"Our focus is on the relationship today and moving it forward," Kirby told a regular news briefing.

The Philippines military and U.S. Marines are due to hold annual amphibious landing exercises from October 4 to 12. Military leaders from the countries have also started preparing for a new set of exercises next year.

Duterte told a gathering of the Filipino community in Hanoi there would be no chance of naval patrols with Washington because they risked dragging the Philippines into conflict with China.
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