Like those from a battering ram, the hits just keep coming from the recently elected president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. Saying this week that President Obama could “go to hell,” Duterte has threatened to jettison decades of close security cooperation with the United States, suggesting Manila would turn to China or Russia for support.
The latest anti-U.S. vitriol came as U.S. Marines and sailors practiced amphibious landings and other exercises with Philippine troops at coastal sites close to the strategic shipping lanes and disputed islands in the South China Sea, a regional hot spot. The joint exercises began Tuesday and are scheduled to run until Oct. 12. Last week, Duterte said this would be the final round of joint exercises with the U.S. military.
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