PH will ‘definitely object’ to possible nuclear plans in South China Sea—DND
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippines will “definitely object” to the possibility of Chinese nuclear deployment in the South China Sea after Pentagon released a report saying that the Asian giant could use nuclear energy in its fortified islands.
“We will definitely object to that. Hindi dapat magdala ng nuclear [weapons] sa disputed area (Bringing nuclear weapons to the disputed area shouldn’t be allowed). For what? Wala naman tayong masamang balak sa kanila. Wala naman tayo balak atakihin ang reclaimed areas (We don’t have bad intentions to attack the reclaimed areas),” he told reporters on Monday on the sidelines of the arrival ceremony for Rimpac (Rim of the Pacific) exercise.
Pentagon’s annual report to Congress mentioned China’s plans to use nuclear power plants to power its islands.
“In 2017, China indicated development plans may be underway to power islands and reefs in the typhoon-prone South China Sea with floating nuclear power stations; development reportedly is to begin prior to 2020,” the report said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry scored the report, saying that China continues to be “committed to a peaceful development path and follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature.”
While the Philippines has not verified the report, Lorenzana said they are dealing with the disputes and he says there was “no need for them to militarize to that level.”
He said they will course through their concerns with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Malacañang has also expressed concerns over possible nuclear deployment in the disputed waters.
“We’re concerned about the entry of any and all nuclear weapons into the Philippine territory because our Constitution provides that we are nuclear free zone,” spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing. /je
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