President Duterte said he would immediately seek the pullout of the American forces in the Philippines if they bring nuclear weapons into the country.
The President made the announcement during the arrival of Sinovac vaccines from China on Sunday, adding he would terminate the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States the moment he receives proof that American troops have brought nuclear armaments into the country.
The presence of nuclear weapons is prohibited under the country’s Constitution.
“I am warning you that if I get hold of hard information that nuclear armaments are here brought by you, I will immediately ask you to go out and I will terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement ahora mismo,” the President said.
The President claimed US troops have installed arms depots across the country.
“The arms are stored everywhere in the Philippines, in case you don’t know. They have depots all around the Philippines,” he said.
“I told them I cannot stop you because we have yet to renegotiate the Visiting Forces Agreement,” he added.
Ties between the United States and its former colony have been complicated by Duterte’s rise to power in 2016 and his frequent statements condemning US foreign policy as well as open embrace of China.
In February 2020, Duterte scrapped the VFA over alleged inequities in its treaty provisions and the perceived US interference in the country’s domestic affairs.
He later suspended the revocation of the military pact with Washington in June and again in November 2020.