The Philippine president says he has instructed his defense chief not to prepare for joint exercises with the U.S. military next year as he moved to realize his threat to remove the highest-profile symbol of his country's treaty alliance with Washington.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, reiterated Wednesday that he will not abrogate a 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the U.S. He has said, however, that he'll chart a foreign policy not dependent on Washington.

Duterte says: "I insist that we realign, that there will be no more exercises next year, 'Do not prepare,' I told Defense Secretary Lorenzana."

Duterte also wants U.S. forces out of the south and has opposed joint patrols with the U.S. Navy in the disputed South China Sea.