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US welcomes Philippine government's decision to suspend VFA termination anew

The United States on Thursday welcomed the Philippine government's decision to suspend anew the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement.

"The U.S.-Philippines alliance remains vital to our robust, deep-rooted bilateral relationship. The United States will continue to partner closely with the Philippines to strengthen our mutual security ties," an Embassy statement said.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to extended for another six months the termination of the defense pact amid lingering tensions in the disputed South China Sea.

In February, Duterte ordered the abrogation of the VFA, which allows American soldiers to regularly train with their Filipino counterparts in the country, after the US revoked the visa of his close aide and former police chief now senator, Ronald Dela Rosa.

No specific reason was cited by the US on Dela Rosa's visa cancellarion, but many speculated it was due to his involvement in Duterte's deadly war on drugs, which killed at least 6,000.

Manila first suspended the VFA's termination process on June 1, citing “political and other developments in the region.”—AOL, GMA News