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US-Philippine defense pact lives on for another 6 months

Duterte to study 'concerns' regarding Visiting Forces Agreement

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech marking Philippine Independence Day on June 12. (Photo courtesy of the Philippines Presidential Communications Operations Office)

MANILA -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended the termination of a key military agreement with the U.S. by another six months, his foreign minister said late Monday, prolonging the uncertainties around one of the region's oldest defense alliances.

Duterte has now put off ending the pact for a third time. The move essentially extends the Visiting Forces Agreement, a crucial component of the alliance, which is being tested by China's expansion in the disputed South China Sea.

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