The Philippines has chosen to stop allowing the US, its defense ally, from staging patrols in its territory for South China Sea missions, in order to smooth out territorial disputes with China.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippines will not allow its territory to be used as a staging ground for US patrols, AP reports. Manila currently has 2014 defense agreement with the US that allows US aircraft, ships and submarines access to designated Philippine military bases.
Lorenzana said US ships and planes can use Guam or Okinawa in Japan for South China Sea missions. But he said they can still refuel and resupply in the Philippines after conducting such maneuvers, not before.
President Rodrigo Duterte had reached out to China to try to solve the territorial disputes in October this year.
A string of anti-U.S. pronouncements is reportedly to have been appeared after Duterte’s falling out with President Barack Obama, whom he has lambasted for criticizing his deadly anti-drug crackdown. Duterte also said he wants to scale back the Philippines' military engagements with the US, including scuttling a plan to carry out joint patrols with the US Navy in the disputed waters, which he said China opposes.