The Philippines' bombastic President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a halt to his nation's 65-year military alliance with the United States. Duterte, who is locked in a bitter war of words with the US, has taken steps to suspend joint military patrols and ordered American troops to leave the country.
Duterte's defence minister, Delfin Lorenzana, said the 28 joint military exercises that the countries carry out each year under a 1951 defence treaty will be stopped, patrols with US navy vessels in the South China Sea had ended and 107 American troops flying surveillance drones against Islamic extremists would soon leave as soon as Philippines soldiers were equipped to take over their duties.
Duterte, nicknamed 'The Punisher' or 'Duterte Harry', has previously told US told President Barack Obama to "go to hell", and described him as the "son of a whore" following criticism for his war on drugs. An ongoing US-Philippine amphibious beach landing exercise will be the last during his six-year tenure, Duterte announced.
"This year would be the last," Duterte said according to The Guardian on Friday (7 October) in the southern city of Davao. "For as long as I am there, do not treat us like a doormat because you'll be sorry for it. I will not speak with you. I can always go to China."
Lorenzana said that he would ask the Philippines Congress for $50m (£40m) to $100m a year to compensate for a hole in US military aid and said the country may contact Russia or China for new equipment.
"We have been allies since 1951," he said according to The Times. "All we got are hand-me-downs, no new equipment. The Americans failed to beef up our capabilities to be at par with what is happening in the region."
Philippines Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay has also suggested that the government will sever ties with the US which has "failed" the country after forcing them to be dependent on America. "America has failed us," Yasay said in a statement on the foreign ministry website.
"This is at the core of the message to the American people and the world. The United States held on to invisible chains that reined us in towards dependency and submission as little brown brothers not capable of true independence and freedom."
A spokeswoman for the US embassy in the capital, Manila, said: "Frankly, it seems at odds with the warm relationship that exists between the Filipino and American people and the record of important cooperation between our governments."