The Trump administration on Wednesday announced a new set of measures aimed at pressuring Manila to end a military-run mining operation in the South China Sea.
The president signed a memorandum ordering the State Department to halt all military assistance from the United States to the Philippines, the first time the administration has directly addressed the issue.
The move is the first direct action taken by the Trump administration against a foreign country under U.N. sanctions.
It also comes as Duterte prepares to meet with the leaders of China, the United Kingdom, Russia and France on Tuesday.
Duterte, who has been in office for less than a year, has been accused by rights groups and human rights advocates of abusing his power.
His administration has accused Beijing of blocking efforts to end mining operations by the Philippines and other neighboring countries.
The new memorandum, signed by U.M. Secretary of State-designate Philip Goldberg and National Security Council Senior Adviser Dan Shapiro, instructs the State department to stop providing military assistance for “any activity” that “violates” the law prohibiting the mining of minerals, including oil and gas, in the Spratlys.
It is not immediately clear what kind of assistance the administration will halt or whether the new measures will include any new U.s. aid.
The Philippines is seeking U.n. recognition of its claim over much of the South Asian waters.