MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippine military said defence relations with the United States were "rock solid", a day after President Rodrigo Duterte called for the withdrawal of United States special forces in the south of the country.
"The recent pronouncement will affect only a token number of American servicemen who are confined mainly in Zamboanga City," army spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said in a statement.
"They provide technical assistance and training to their Filipino counterparts in combating terrorism in the Philippines. We assure our people and allies that Philippine-US defence relations remain rock solid."
Mr Duterte on Monday (Sept 12) called for the withdrawal of US special forces from Zamboanga, saying their presence could complicate offensives against Islamist militants notorious for beheading Westerners.