Adopting a conciliatory tone, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday (11 November) has said that his country remains a "friend" and an "ally" of the US under newly elected President Donald Trump.
However, he reiterated that he still wanted foreign troops to leave his country by the end of his term.
The tough-talking Filipino president is known for throwing torrent of invective aimed at the west, especially towards American President Barack Obama. But he is said to have toned down from his usual hostile outburst following Trump's unprecedented election victory.
Duterte said Manila will continue to honour its military pact with Washington under Trump's administration, while also hinting at revoking the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that both the countries signed in 2014. The pact gives the American troops access to Philippine bases on rotational basis.
"We are friends, with an ally, we have a military pact that would bind us," Reuters cited him as saying, during a press interaction upon his return from a visit to Malaysia.
"We will maintain our cooperation ... and respect is there, and in all matters between the two countries, especially the treaties we signed with them, so many agreements, we will honour all of these things."
Duterte was one among the handful of world leaders, who congratulated the 70-year-old billionaire on his historic election victory over his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton on 9 November.
He emphasised that the change in the White House will not make him go back on his words about cutting off the US ties to build closer alliance with the countries in the region. "I will pursue what I started, I'm not into habit of reneging on my work," he said.
Duterte has not favoured the Western country's influence in the region and has strongly been against the US, especially since Obama administration condemned his campaign to eliminate drugs and crimes from the Philippines.
He has also explicitly expressed his anger about being dependent on the former colonial power, calling to scrap the dozens of joint military exercises. Duterte said his Asia Pacific country did not need the drills and hence wanted the foreign troops to move of the country's southern region when his term comes to an end in less than six years.
"We do not need any foreigners to train Filipino troops. By themselves they are warriors," he added.
While shifting his foreign policy away from the US, he has leaned towards Chinese alliance. He also said he would be opting to seek new ties for defence procurements like Israel, Japan and Russia. He cited that US "gadgets" were expensive.
When asked by a reporter during the press conference, if he thinks being compared to Trump is accurate as Duterte is often dubbed as "Trump of the East", the Philippine president said: "No I don't think so, what we share in common maybe is the passion to serve. I am just a small molecule on this planet, he is now president of the most powerful country in the world. I am just a president struggling barely just above the water."