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No more joint patrols with US: Philippines

dpadpa 8/10/2016

The Philippine defence chief says he has told the US military that plans for joint patrols and naval exercises in the South China Sea have been put on hold.

The Philippines has told the United States that joint patrols in the South China Sea are suspended and says it can "live without" the country's financial aid, the Philippine defence chief says.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the US and Philippines had so far conducted two naval exercises in the disputed seas, but there would be no more planned.

"When (President Rodrigo Duterte) said there will be no more patrols, we already informed our counterparts that there are no more patrols in the meantime," he told reporters in Manila.

"We suspended it first," he added. "They know it already."

Lorenzana also said his military could "live without" financial aid from the US and would instead approach lawmakers to ask for a bigger budget to fill in the shortfall.

"Our congress is giving us money now. I believe they will be giving us more if we have no source of funds," he said.

Lorenzana said there was truth to the assessment by the country's foreign secretary that the US had "failed us," especially in efforts to boost the military's capabilities.

"We have been allies since 1951, all we got from that time until (1992) are all hand-me-downs, no new equipment," he said.

"The Americans failed to beef up our capabilities to be at par with what is happening in the region."

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that the US had not received "any official notification of the curtailment of these activities".

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