US dismisses Duterte's EDCA statement

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks have not "translated into actions" following his threat to cancel the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the United States Department of Defense said.

Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis stressed that the alliance between the two countries remains stable despite the president's recent pronouncements.

"In as much as our alliance with the Philippines is concerned, it's very much solid and stable and secure and on track," Davis said.

On Sunday, Duterte said that he might scrap the treaty between the Philippines and the US which former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg signed on April 28, 2014.

"It does not contain the signature of (former president Benigno) Aquino. There is none. Better think twice now because I would be asking you to leave the Philippines altogether," Duterte said.

READ: Duterte eyes review of EDCA

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in the Philippines said that it has not been officially contacted by the US Department of Defense regarding Duterte's statement.

US Embassy Press Attaché Molly Koscina said that the US will continue to focus on its relationship with the Philippines and will work together in areas of mutual concern.

"We will continue to honor our alliance commitments and we expect the Philippines to do the same. We will continue to work closely with the government of the Philippines to address any concerns they may have," Koscina said in a statement.

RELATED: Philippines opens what could be final war games with US

Duterte earlier expressed his intent to put an end to the annual military exercises between the longstanding allies. The exercises, however, are not covered by the EDCA but are stipulated under the Visiting Forces Agreement, an offshoot of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

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