Philip­pines, US hold war games

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

MANILA: The Philip­pines and the US launched war games yes­ter­day against the back­drop of the un­usual threat of Amer­i­can forces be­ing ejected from the South­east Asian na­tion, as its fire­brand leader piv­ots to China.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has sus­tained a ver­bal as­sault on the US, the Philip­pines’ for­mer colo­nial ruler and mu­tual de­fence part­ner, since he took of­fice on June 30 in re­sponse to crit­i­cism of his deadly war on crime.

Duterte has in re­cent days warned the war games will be the last of his six-year term, and threat­ened to scrap a de­fence pact im­ple­mented by his pre­de­ces­sor that was meant to see more US troops in the Philip­pines to counter Chi­nese ex­pan­sion in the South China Sea.

“Bet­ter think twice now be­cause I will be ask­ing you to leave the Philip­pines al­to­gether,” Duterte said on Sun­day in his lat­est out­burst against the Amer­i­cans, full of typ­i­cal in­vec­tive.

“The Amer­i­cans, I don’t like them. They are rep­ri­mand­ing me in pub­lic,” he said, while sig­nalling again that he wanted to forge closer al­liances with China and Rus­sia.

Last week Duterte, 71, also claimed the CIA was plot­ting to as­sas­si­nate him.

This came af­ter he threat­ened to swear at Barack Obama af­ter be­ing told the US pres­i­dent planned to raise hu­man rights con­cerns over his drug war.

Duterte has vowed to erad­i­cate il­le­gal drugs in the Philip­pines, warn­ing the na­tion is in dan­ger of be­com­ing a narco-state.

His crime war has seen more than 3,000 peo­ple killed, with the United Na­tions, the Euro­pean Union and rights groups rais­ing con­cerns about al­leged ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings and a break­down in the rule of law.

Duterte has in­sisted he is not do­ing any­thing il­le­gal, yet at the same time said he would be “happy to slaugh­ter” three mil­lion drug users.

He also likened his crime war to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s ef­fort to ex­ter­mi­nate Jews, but fol­low­ing an out­cry, he apol­o­gised for re­fer­ring to the Holo­caust.

A total of two thou­sand troops from the two sides are tak­ing part in the war games, in­clud­ing in wa­ters close to flash­point ar­eas of the South China Sea. – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.