By Sputnik News
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered to cancel an arms deal with the United States on Monday.
Duterte cancelled the deal on the purchase of police rifles from the US amid tensions with Washington over US’ accusations of human rights violations in the Philippines.
“We will not insist on buying expensive arms from the United States. We can always get them somewhere else. I am ordering the police to cancel it. We don’t need them,” Duterte said in a televised speech as quoted by Reuters.
Duterte added that the Philippines will look for another supplier of rifles that would be cheaper and as “maybe as durable and as good as those made in the place we are ordering them.”
Earlier this month, the US State Department halted the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines amid growing human rights concerns over Manila’s crackdown on the country’s illegal drug trade. The incident is the latest in a series of events that have increased tensions between Washington and Manila.
Duterte reacted angrily to US’ criticism of his hardline anti-drugs policy, telling US President Barack Obama to “go to hell” and threatening to break ties between the longstanding allies.
During a visit to China last month, Duterte announced that he wanted a “separation” from the US, calling for all US troops to leave the Philippines within the next two years.
The tensions also come as the Philippines improves its relations with China, leading to speculation that Manila may be set for a foreign policy shift away from Washington and toward Beijing.