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International relations

Philippine and US diplomats search ways to save military ties

Officials work to keep alliance intact after Duterte and Trump agree to end troop deal

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold takes part in Valiant Shield exercises in the Philippine Sea.   © Reuters

MANILA -- Diplomats from the Philippines and the U.S. are weighing options for a new military agreement after their leaders agreed to scrap an accord deemed crucial for their countries' defense alliance, Manila's ambassador to Washington said on Friday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's government on Feb. 11 informed the U.S. that it was abrogating their Visiting Forces Agreement, which facilitates routine military exercises with U.S. troops in the Philippines. U.S. President Donald Trump said Duterte's decision was "fine" and it will allow Washington to "save a lot of money."

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