Lorenzana: PH lacks military might but has friends in US, Asean
The Philippines may lack the military muscle to face off with China on the West Philippine Sea, but what it does have are friends for backup.
Outlining the Philippines’ “options” in the face of Chinese incursions and installations in the disputed seas, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana listed two: “alliances with other Asean nations and the Philippines’ mutual defense treaty with the United States.”
Lorenzana made the statements during an open forum at the “Pilipinas Conference 2018” in Makati City, organized by independent think tank Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute on Friday.
“It’s still the biggest strength of the Philippines, this alliance with the United States,” Lorenzana said, answering a question seeking his reaction to President Duterte’s statements that the Philippines could not go to war with China.
“In his frustration, I think he said that we can’t fight China but he knows we have some options here,” Lorenzana said, citing the Philippines’ regional and US alliance.
The defense chief also cited increased military cooperation with Australia and Japan.
In welcome remarks during the conference, former Ambassador Albert del Rosario said the Philippines should seek action from the United Nations General Assembly to press China to abide by the arbitral ruling.
It was during Del Rosario’s time as foreign secretary when the Philippines won the arbitral case against China’s “nine-dash line” claim.
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