MANILA – President Duterte accused the US of building permanent armed depots in Philippine soil thus risking regional stability Sunday. This was in response when Pentagon decided to build warehouses, barracks and runways this year under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). He also threated to scrap the said agreement.
In a televised news conference, Duterte said, “They’re unloading arms in the Philippines now . . . I’m serving notice to the armed forces of the United States. Do not do it, I will not allow it.”
“Provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement, there shall be no permanent facilities. A depot by any other name is a depot. It’s a permanent structure to house arms.”
“I do not even know if there is a nuclear tip (missile) now, that they are unloading.” He added.
He insisted that if U.S arsenals were being built in the country, he would consider a review of the treaties “and maybe ultimately abrogate, since it is an executive order”.
This move could eventually put the country in a complex situation as China had clearly expressed its intents and sentiments towards the United States while the country is looking forward to have further talks with China following the court ruling of the international court thus further building up the tension in South China Sea.
Duterte mentioned that he has an urgent message to China asking if Beijing would be willing to help provide precision-guided missiles in order to back up Philippine troops in battling militants linked to Islamic State in the south.
“I made a commitment to President Xi Jinping, I made my solemn commitment that we will talk about this arbitral award during my term. When, I really do not know, but we will talk hard.” He said.