Philippine leader recalls decision to void US security pact

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has reversed his termination of a key defense pact with the United States that allows large-scale combat exercises between U.S. and Philippine forces. Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomed the decision, which he said would help bolster defense relations between the longtime allies. The 1998 agreement lets large numbers of American military forces enter the Philippines and sets legal terms for their temporary stay. Duterte notified the U.S. in February 2020 that the Philippines intended to abrogate the agreement, but he repeatedly delayed its effectiveness. The U.S. military presence in the region has been seen as a counterbalance to China, which has aggressively asserted maritime claims in the South China Sea.

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