Paradoxically, the fatal blow to the VFA could come from Washington itself rather than from Manila. Asked about Duterte`s denunciation of the agreement, Trump said, “I don`t mind them wanting to do it. It will save a lot of money. … My opinions are different from the others. Trump`s statement underscores his general lack of esteem for international agreements and alliances in favor of his “America First” policy. However, the two leaders spoke on 19 April and it was not known whether the VFA was running. Whatever happens, the fate of the VFA will determine the tone of the Alliance at least for the remainder of Duterte`s mandate until 2022, if not beyond. Uncertainty about the future of military cooperation between the Philippines and the United States poses challenges to the Trump administration`s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy. Adm Philip S.
Davidson, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said, “But our ability to assist the Philippines and their violent fight against this, our ability to train and operate within the Philippines and with the Philippine armed forces, would be called into question without this agreement from the Visiting Forces.” The political issue of the VFA is complicated by the fact that many host countries have mixed feelings about foreign troops on their soil and that the VFA`s renegotiation requests are often linked to requests for the total withdrawal of foreign troops. Questions of different national practices may arise. Many American observers believe, for example, that the host country`s judicial systems provide much lower protection for defendants than the host country`s courts may be under pressure from the public to commit guilt; In addition, U.S. service members who are invited to send shipments abroad should not be forced to waive their rights under the U.S. Bulletin of Rights. On the other hand, observers of the host country who do not have a local equivalent of the law of rights often feel that these are irrelevant excuses for seeking special treatment and resemble the extraterritorial agreements demanded by Western countries during the colonial period. A host country where such sentiment is widespread, South Korea, itself has forces in Kyrgyzstan and has negotiated a SOFA that gives its members total immunity from prosecution by the Kyrgyz authorities for any crime something that goes far beyond the privileges that many South Koreans were entering their country`s couch with the United States. [citation necessary] , despite his skepticism about bilateral relations.