The United States is calling for the independence of the Philippines on the first day of Independence Day, an official statement said on Monday.
President Donald Trump made the announcement on the anniversary of the US’s declaration of independence from Britain on June 4, 1875.
He has repeatedly called for a “free and independent” Philippines to be established in the region as part of a new regional alliance.
Trump has previously called on Filipinos to be more vocal in calling for their independence, while also urging the Philippines to join the United States and the United Kingdom in fighting Islamic State militants.
Trump’s comments were echoed by Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, who told CNN Philippines that Trump’s declaration was a “disaster” and that it was “not in the best interests of the Filipinos.”
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The United States has said it supports a declaration of an independent Philippines, saying that such a move would help strengthen security in the country and help end decades of conflict.
A declaration of statehood would be one of the first steps to take in the United Nations Security Council to break up the decades-old warring factions in the Philippines, which has been divided between Manila and the southern island of Mindanao since 1965.
Trump also said Monday that the United State would “fully support” the Philippines’ efforts to end the decades of fighting, which the Philippine military says has killed tens of thousands of people.
The US has made clear its commitment to the Philippines as part a new strategic partnership between the two countries.
The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation of more than 5 million people, was created in 1945 under President Ferdinand Marcos, a dictator who had ruled the country since 1948.