Philip­pines and US hold war games af­ter Duterte tirades

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE Philip­pines and the United States launched war games yes­ter­day against the un­usual threat of Amer­i­can forces be­ing ejected from the South­east Asian na­tion as its fire­brand leader piv­ots to China.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has launched a sus­tained ver­bal as­sault on the United States, 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.

Mr 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,” Mr Duterte said on Oc­to­ber 2 as he launched a tirade against the Amer­i­cans.

“The Amer­i­cans, I don’t like them ... they are rep­ri­mand­ing me in pub­lic. So I say: ‘Screw you, f*** you’,” he said, while sig­nalling again that he wanted to forge closer al­liances with China and Rus­sia.

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

This came af­ter he branded Barack Obama a “son of a whore” in re­sponse to be­ing told the US pres­i­dent planned to raise hu­man rights con­cerns over his drug war.

Two thou­sand troops from both sides are tak­ing part in the war games, in­clud­ing in wa­ters close to flash­point ar­eas of the South China Sea where China claims nearly all of the sea, even wa­ters close to the Philip­pines and other South­east Asian na­tions. –

Photo: AFP

Two girls walk past houses de­stroyed by bombs in Toribio, Colom­bia, on Oc­to­ber 3.

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