Duterte wants American troops to leave Mindanao
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the US Special Forces must leave Mindanao, saying their presence would only worsen the situation in the strife-torn region.
“The US Special Forces, they have to go. They have to (leave) Mindanao. There are many (Americans) there,” the President said in a speech at the oath-taking ceremony of the latest batch of his appointees in Malacañang.
“I just could not say it (at the Asean summit in Laos) because I don’t want a rift with America. The situation there (in Mindanao) will be more volatile. If they are seen there, they will really be killed,” he added.
Duterte, who became the buzz at the meeting of the 10-member regional bloc in Vientiane last week for his verbal tirades against US President Barack Obama, also showed photographs of the massacre of the Moro people during the US occupation.
Duterte’s decision came shortly after leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the US vowed to step up measures to stop the rising militarization of the disputed waters in the South China Sea despite a landmark arbitration court ruling that dismissed Beijing’s historical claims over 90 percent of the territory under nine dash line.
The parties signed the Asean-US Summit statement on September 8 at the sidelines of the Asean Leaders Summit held last week in Vientiane, Laos.
The Chairman’s statement of the Asean-US Summit emphasized “the importance of maintaining peace, stability, safety, security and unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea.”
“We underscored the importance of exercising self-restraint in the conduct of the activities, and for the states concerned to resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos),” said the 4th Asean-US Leaders Statement.
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