Rodrigo Duterte, in Japan, Calls for U.S. Troops to Exit Philippines in 2 Years
according to rapporteur report from Ny times, link ,The remarks, made to a group of Japanese and Filipino businessmen in Tokyo, are the clearest signal yet that Mr. Duterte wants to renegotiate the 2014 agreement his predecessor reached with the United States to let the Pentagon use five Philippine military bases, a central component of the Obama administration’s plan to bolster American influence in Asia.
“I want them out,” Mr. Duterte said of the American troops in his country, adding that he was willing to “revise or abrogate agreements.” He also repeated a recent assertion that he would withdraw from any joint military exercises with the United States, a treaty ally. “This will be the last maneuver, war games, between the United States and the Philippine military,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks.
Mr. Duterte’s trip to Japan is his first state visit since he said in China last week that he wanted a “separation” from the United States, a remark he later softened. He told his Tokyo audience on Wednesday that he had discussed only economic matters with Chinese officials, not security or alliances
Still, his visit puts Japan, another important ally of the United States in Asia and the Philippines’ largest trading partner, in the delicate position of trying to retain a balance in an increasingly tense region where Japan fears any further tilt toward China.
Mr. Duterte had made even more provocative remarks on Tuesday night, shortly after landing in Japan.
“They are disrespecting us,” he told more than 500 Filipinos gathered at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo, referring to the United States, which he called a bully. He also referred to unspecified critics of his bloody campaign against drugs in the Philippines, saying they had threatened him with jail. “Son of a bitch, jail?” he said. “I’ll cut your head off.”
Both American and Japanese leaders have been scrambling to understand exactly what Mr. Duterte, a hugely popular leader at home, has meant by his remarks about the American relationship, which at times have seemed contradictory. As recently as Tuesday, Mr. Duterte had said that he did not want to revoke the military alliance with the United States, which has about 100 troops stationed on the southern island of Mindanao.
“It’s clear that many of the things that have been said are inconsistent with friendship and alliance,” the departing United States ambassador to the Philippines, Philip S. Goldberg, said Monday.
The Philippine foreign minister, Perfecto Yasay Jr., offered reassurances about the alliance in remarks to reporters after Mr. Duterte’s speech Wednesday. “There is no reason at this time to terminate our agreements because our national interests still continue to converge,” he said.
Analysts said Japan, as an ally that may have its own frustrations with its relationship with the United States — and which, like the Philippines, has an American troop presence with some degree of public sentiment against it — could be well placed to play the sympathetic ear with Mr. Duterte, who was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later Wednesday.
“Japan is in a position right now — and Prime Minister Abe specifically — to really remind him of the importance of the United States, but also to provide a venue to let him blow off some steam,” said Jeffrey Hornung, a fellow in the security and foreign affairs program at Sasakawa Foundation USA, a research institute based in Washington.
The Japanese government, which is the largest importer of goods and services from the Philippines and a major provider of aid and investment, has also repeatedly signaled its strong support for the July ruling by an international tribunal in The Hague over disputes between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.