Filipino President says US troops must leave his country within two years

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said his country is "open for business" after upending traditional alliances by insulting the US and making overtures to China. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said his country is “open for business” after upending traditional alliances by insulting the US and making overtures to China. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has said he wants US troops to leave the country, possibly within two years.

Speaking while on a state visit to Japan, he also called for an “independent foreign policy”.

Under a current defence pact, the US maintains troops at five military bases in the Philippines.

Since taking office Mr Duterte has strongly emphasised a pivot away from the US, a long-time ally and former colonial ruler, towards China.

“I want, maybe in the next two years, my country free of the presence of foreign military troops. I want them out,” he told a forum in Tokyo on Wednesday.

He reiterated the possibility of cancelling current agreements with the US, as well as his desire to be “closer to China”.

Last week while visiting Beijing, he declared his country’s “separation” from the US, though he said later it did not mean a complete severing of ties.

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