Philippines suspends decision to scrap VFA with United States

June 15, 2021 - 9:18 AM
U.S. Marines officer Lt General Lawrence Nicholson (C) and his counterpart from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Lt General Oscar Lactao (L) unfurl the "Balikatan" flag, during the opening ceremony of Philippines and U.S. military joint exercises called Balikatan (Shoulder to Shoulder) at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines May 8, 2017. (Reuters/Erik De Castro/File Photo)

MANILA — The Philippines has suspended for the third time its decision to scrap a two-decade-old Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, its foreign minister said on Monday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said the suspension would be for a further six months while President Rodrigo Duterte “studies, and both sides further address his concerns regarding, particular aspects of the agreement”.

The Philippines is a treaty ally of the United States, and several military agreements are dependent on the VFA. Duterte last year notified Washington he was canceling the deal, which came amid outrage over a senator and ally being denied a U.S. visa. —Reporting by Karen Lema Editing by Gareth Jones