Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said Filipino forces can fight insurgents and Muslim extremists without American military help, in a defense of his recent decision to terminate a U.S. security pact.
The U.S. has demonstrated its willingness to assist the Philippines. However, Duterte wants to have assistance from Washington only when it suits him.
The Philippines notified the United States on Tuesday it would end a major security pact allowing American forces to train in the country, in the most serious threat under President Rodrigo Duterte to their 69-year treaty alliance.
Pompeo's assertion that "the South China Sea is part of the Pacific" is a significant move. U.S. recommitment increases the risk of an unwanted conflict.
The military on Wednesday killed nearly 20 pro-Islamic State (IS) bandits, including a Singaporean terrorist, in massive air and ground assaults.
Unlike many of his slain comrades, the touted new leader of the Islamic State group in the southern Philippines lacks the bravado, clan name or foreign training.
President Donald Trump is winding down his lengthy Asia trip with an international summit and a series of meetings with Pacific Rim allies, including his host in the Philippines who is overseeing a bloody drug war.
President Trump met with Philippines President Duterte amid questions from human rights advocates about whether Trump would confront his counterpart over a bloody drug war.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, paving the way for a visit next month by President Donald Trump, congratulated the Philippine army for its successes against militants in the southern city of Marawi.
The last two surviving leaders of a deadly siege in the southern Philippines, including a top Asian terror suspect, were killed Monday in a push by thousands of troops to retake the last pocket of Marawi.