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Duterte threatens to end Philippines-US ‘visiting forces’ pact, over ally's visa denial

Duterte threatens to end Philippines-US ‘visiting forces’ pact, over ally's visa denial

President Rodrigo Duterte has renewed a threat to terminate an accord that allows US forces to train in the Philippines, unless Washington restored the visa of a political ally of his, who has been linked to alleged human rights violations.

Duterte said in an expletives-laced speech on Thursday night that he would give notice to the US that he would be terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), if the reported cancellation of the entry visa of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa was not reversed within a month.

The VFA security accord, which took effect in 1999, provides legal cover for American troops who enter the Philippines for joint training with Filipino troops.

Despite Duterte’s critical stance, US-Philippine defense ties have remained robust and the number of joint military exercises even increased last year, AP said.