US President Donald Trump dismissed concerns Wednesday about the Philippines canceling a major military accord, saying the decision would save Americans money.
The 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement created a legal framework for the presence of US troops in the Philippines and for organizing joint military exercises.
Manila announced its decision last Tuesday — a move the US embassy in the Philippines called a “serious step” — touching off a six-month countdown to the end of the deal.
“If they would like to do that, that’s fine, we’ll save a lot of money,” Trump told reporters at the White House, touting his “very good relationship” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Famously outspoken Duterte has threatened since his 2016 election to put an end to the Filipino-American alliance, with an eye on cultivating relationships with Russia or China instead.