US Defense Secretary: Dissolving Philippines Military Pact a Move in ‘Wrong Direction’

Posted on February 11, 2020 2:51 pm

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BRUSSELS/WHITE HOUSE — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says dissolving the bilateral agreement with the Philippines that covers visiting U.S. military forces there “would be a move in the wrong direction.”

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte gave formal notice to the United States of his decision to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) late Monday after repeated threats to downgrade the two countries’ military alliance. The 1998 agreement provides legal permission for thousands of U.S. troops who rotate into the Philippines for dozens of military and humanitarian assistance exercises each year.

“We just got the notification late last night. We have to digest