MANILA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said on Tuesday that the Philippines has no plans to scrap the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States.
He said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte will continue to "respect all treaty agreements or arrangements with all nations."
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Yasay expressed the hope that the bilateral meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and President Rodrigo Duterte would still take place.
Yasay was reacting to a statement that Duterte made Monday that U.S. special forces should pull out of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, saying the present of U.S. soldiers there make the southern Philippines "more volatile."
Referring to President Duterte's remarks over the weekend that the Philippines wants to pursue an independent foreign policy, Yasay said "when we carry out our independent foreign policy it must not be subject to outside pressure."
The United States and the Philippines inked EDCA in 2014, which gives more access to the U.S. military to conduct joint military activities on Philippine waters and soil.
The 10-year, renewable arrangement also allows for the increased presence of U.S. military forces, ships, aircraft, and equipment in the Philippines on a nonpermanent basis.
Meanwhile, the Philippine military said Tuesday that the defense cooperation between the Philippines and the United States remains "solid."