Philippines may relocate naval drills with U.S.: defence minister


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C), accompanied by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (R) and Defense Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana (L), claps at the end of Japan's coast guard drills in Yokohama, Japan October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C), accompanied by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (R) and Defense Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana (L), claps at the end of Japan’s coast guard drills in Yokohama, Japan October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked his defence minister to move joint naval exercises with the United States away from the disputed South China Sea as Duterte tries to repair Manila’s ties with China.

The Philippines has already decided to reduce the number of drills it holds with its long-term ally and former colonial master after Duterte announced a sudden pivot towards China.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters at a military ceremony on Friday that Duterte had advised him to seek a new location for the war games.

“We might move the naval exercises facing the South China Sea to Mindanao area to avoid annoying our neighbor, so let us be sensitive of our neighbors,” he said.

Duterte visited Beijing in October and announced that he was loosening ties with Washington, which has provided nearly $800 million in military aid since 2002.

Chinese-Filipino relations were strained in 2013 when Manila asked an international tribunal in The Hague to rule on China’s claim to large parts of the South China Sea, where Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against China but Beijing, which has been building and fortifying artificial islands in the area, refused to recognize the decision.

Duterte reiterated on Thursday that he wanted to avoid confrontation with China and saw no need for urgency in pressing it to abide by the ruling.

He also played down concerns that China was militarizing the South China Sea and appeared unperturbed by its dredging work and building activity, much of which falls within what Manila considers its Exclusive Economic Zone.

(Reporting by Karen Lema and Manuel Mogato; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Source: Reuters “Philippines may relocate naval drills with U.S.: defence minister”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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2 Comments on “Philippines may relocate naval drills with U.S.: defence minister”

  1. Simon says:

    Duterte has not ended his country’s navy drill with America he previously stated he would. Seems like he enjoys riding two boats at the same time. If I was China I will string him along and make him make concessions or withdraw loans and other benefits because personally Duterte is benefitting too much and gave nothing back. Got to remember Scarborough Shoal and other SCS islands were never part of Phillipine territories for them to be bargained in the first place.

    Like

  2. Steve says:

    President Duterte can be regarded as a Shrewd businessman and Clever politician. He knows how to reflect and avoid sensitive issues, by using tact and diplomacy to develop mutual respect for better communications, successful outcomes and win win relationship with China. Compared to the previous government, it’s fair to say that Aquino was instead Stupid.

    Like


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