Philip­pines pres­i­dent sug­gests two-year dead­line

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, speak­ing in a coun­try that is a staunch US ally and hosts 50,000 Amer­i­can troops, said that he wants his coun­try to be free of for­eign troops, pos­si­bly within two years.

“I want to be friends to China,” he told an au­di­ence of busi­ness­peo­ple in Tokyo, Ja­pan. “I do not need the arms. I do not want mis­siles es­tab­lished in my coun­try. I do not need to have the air­ports to host the bombers.”

He was re­fer­ring to vis­it­ing US troops, whose pres­ence in five Philip­pine mil­i­tary camps was es­tab­lished un­der a se­cu­rity deal signed un­der Duterte’s pre­de­ces­sor as a coun­ter­bal­ance to China’s grow­ing mil­i­tary as­sertive­ness in the re­gion. Since tak­ing of­fice at the end of June, Duterte has reached out to Bei­jing while crit­i­cis­ing US for­eign pol­icy. His ap­proach has caused con­ster­na­tion in both the US and Ja­pan. Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe was ex­pected to ask Duterte about his for­eign pol­icy when they met later yes­ter­day.

In his speech, the Philip­pine leader de­parted at the end of his pre­pared re­marks on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment to ad­dress the topic that he said he knows is “what is on ev­ery­body’s mind”.

He said he is pur­su­ing an in­de­pen­dent for­eign pol­icy, and that he wants for­eign troops to leave, maybe in the next two years. “I want them out,” he said.

“I may have ruf­fled the feel­ings of some but that is how it is,” he added. “We will sur­vive, with­out the as­sis­tance of Amer­ica, maybe a lesser qual­ity of life, but as I said, we will sur­vive.”

Duterte is on a three-day visit to Ja­pan, in­clud­ing a planned meet­ing with Em­peror Ak­i­hito.

VIS­IT­ING: Ro­drigo Duterte is on a trip to Ja­pan

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