Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at the United States again Tuesday, throwing new uncertainty into relations between the longtime allies.
Speaking to reporters in Manila as he was preparing to leave for an official visit to Japan, the combative Duterte warned that the Philippines would not be treated "like a dog with a leash" by Washington, and said the U.S. could "forget" about the decades-old bilateral defense treaty if he stayed in power "long enough."
"I look forward to the time when I no longer see any military troops or soldiers in my country except the Filipino soldiers," said Duterte.
Tuesday's comments are the latest in a string of angry tirades and threats he has directed at the United States. The remarks are seen as in response to criticism over his violent anti-drug campaign that has killed nearly 4,000 people since he assumed office on June 30. During a state visit to China last week, he declared his intention to cut off all ties with the U.S., but later reversed himself.
Duterte has saved the worst of his anger for President Barack Obama, whom he has called a "son of a whore."
Daniel Russell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said Monday that Duterte's recent controversial statements have created a "climate of uncertainty" between Manila and Washington.
Duterte's expressions of anti-U.S. rage are in stark contrast to his pursuit of accommodation and cooperation with Beijing. Long before his state visit to China, Duterte said he would not bring up a ruling by an international tribunal that dismissed China's aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea and violated Manila's sovereign rights by interfering with Philippine fishing and oil exploration activities in the area.