Duterte: More arms coming from China, but no military alliance
China will deliver another shipment of arms and ammunition to the Philippines in September, President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Wednesday. He made it clear, however, that the Philippines could not enter into a military alliance with other nations because this would violate the Mutual Defense Treaty signed by the Philippines and the United States in 1951.
“Because we have this RP-US pact, so I could not enter into any other military alliances. That would be a violation of the treaty,” Duterte said in his speech at the 26th anniversary of the Bureau of Jaiil Management and Penology (BJMP) in Camp Aguinaldo.
“But on economics and terrorism. I can always go to other nations for help,” he said.
The President made the statement as the Philippines marked on Wednesday the first anniversary of its legal victory over China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in case involving the two countries’ territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea.
On July 12 last year, the Hague tribunal ruled that China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea had no legal basis and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea – waters within Manila’s 372-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
Duterte said this was the reason he approached China and Russia so that they could help the Philippines with its economy and its fight against terrorism.
“Expect Russia to help us in due time,” he said. “China has sent it. There’ll be another shipment of arms (in) September.”
“I never suggested anything about alliances, but I told China, we can do joint military maneuvers,” he added.
Last June, the Philippines received P370 million worth of arms and ammunition from China, which the President received during a turnover ceremony at Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua said then that a second set of military arms and ammunition would arrive in the next few months.
Aside from military aid, Zhao said China would give the Philippines P5 million for the families of slain soldiers in Marawi City. This is on top of the P15 million it earlier donated to the government for the rehabilitation and relief operations in the conflict-torn city. /atm
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