- The nasty spat is not yet likely to damage the enduring relationship between the countries
- But the man in charge in Manila introduces an unpredictable element to a tense region
(CNN)It's not just a runaway tongue that worries the United States about the volatile new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. It's what else he's thinking.
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In his comments, Duterte referred to an infamous US massacre in the southern Philippines.
The US acquired the Philippines from Spain as a result of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which brought an end to the Spanish-American War.
Filipinos rose up against the US, waging a war that ended in 1902. But some of the Moro population -- a Muslim group in the south of the country -- continued to reject US rule, in what is known as the Moro Rebellion.
In 1906, an infamous battle took place in the volcanic crater of Bud Dajo on the southern island of Jolo.
US forces, equipped with firearms, routed the Moros, who used traditional weapons, leaving hundreds of them dead and only a handful of survivors.
The US's military victory proved a public relations disaster when it was revealed that women and children were among those killed.