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International relations

Duterte's decision on US defense pact to come 'anytime now'

Manila and Washington officials tout improved Visiting Forces Agreement

A member of the U.S. Marine Corps waits to load a 105 mm high explosive round into a Philippine Marine Corps M102 105 mm howitzer during an exercise at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base in Tarlac, Philippines. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps)

MANILA -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is set to decide "anytime now" on the extension of a key military pact with the U.S., which has been improved following negotiations, diplomats said on Friday.

Defense officials have been holding their breath over the fate of the Visiting Forces Agreement, which eases the entry of U.S. forces into the Philippines for routine military drills.

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