Is that what Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is doing with his just-acquired colonial master? Or is this just another outcome from President Barack Obama’s (D) trailing along leading from behind?
The Philippine defense chief said Friday that he had suspended participation in any joint patrols with the US of the disputed South China Sea, the first concrete sign of a crack in the military alliance following the election of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also said he also would ask a small detachment of American troops providing counterterrorism assistance on the southern island of Mindanao to leave as the president requested.
That last comes with Duterte’s proviso that our troops would not be asked to leave until the Philippine military can carry out its own counterterrorism operations. That’s a judgment, though, that Duterte can make at any time. Or when the PRC is ready to make its next move vis-à-vis the Philippines and leading us from the region.
Duterte’s rationale for halting the joint patrols is a reflection of the PRC’s growing influence over him:
Mr Duterte has said he wanted the patrols halted to avoid antagonizing Beijing….