President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he did not seek support from Washington to end the siege of a southern Philippines town by Islamist militants, a day after the United States said it was providing assistance at the request of the government.
Duterte told a news conference in Cagayan de Oro City, about 100 km (62 miles) from the besieged town of Marawi, that he had “never approached America” for help.
When asked about U.S. support to fight the pro-Islamic State militants in Marawi City on the island of Mindanao, Duterte said he was “not aware of that until they arrived.”
The cooperation between the longtime allies in the battle is significant because Duterte, who came to power a year ago, has taken a hostile stance towards Washington and has vowed to eject U.S. military trainers and advisers from his country.
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