Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said joint military exercises scheduled next month between the Philippines and the U.S. will be the last for the longtime allies, as he seeks to avoid upsetting China, with which he hopes to build stronger trade and investment ties.

He also said he would end routine joint naval patrols in the South China Sea.

“I will serve notice to you now that this will be the last military exercise,” Mr. Duterte said to an audience of some 350 Filipinos in Hanoi, where he is on a two-day state visit to Vietnam

Still, the Philippine leader reaffirmed that his country’s cooperation with the U.S. stands. “I will maintain the military alliance—the RP-US pact, which our countries signed in the early 50s,” Mr. Duterte said.

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