US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter speaks to troops at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, September 26, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has slammed the Philippines president for comparing himself to Adolf Hitlerformer chancellor of Germany, describing his remarks as “deeply troubling.” 
Speaking about his war on illegal drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte likened himself to the leader of the Nazi Party, saying he wants to slaughter “three million drug addicts” in his country.
"I'd be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have (me)," he added.
"You know my victims, I would like (them) to be all criminals, to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” Duterte said.
After launching a war on drugs upon taking office in January, Duterte is said to have killed more than 2,000 suspected drug sellers and users.
Carter, however, said on Friday the relations between Washington and Manila would not be affected by his remarks, adding the US-Philippines cooperation “has served the interests of our nations for many years now."
State Department spokesman Mark Toner also described Duterte’s remarks as “very troubling,” but said that “at the working level our relationship remains very strong and very vital."
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the Davao international airport on September 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
He also highlighted security cooperation with Manila as one such area that remained strong. Toner’s remarks followed comments Thursday by Carter, who described their military ties as "ironclad."
Duterte, however, cast doubt on the future of the relations, saying earlier this week that joint US-Philippine navy drills scheduled for next month will be the last of its kind.
He also called on the US last month to withdraw its American special forces troops from Philippines' Mindanao island, to where they dispatched in 2002 for what it called training and advising Philippine military units fighting local militants.
The US has long considered its relations with the Philippines as one of its most stable in Southeast Asia. In the face of China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea, cutting ties with the Philippines would now be a major loss for Washington in the region.

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