US Assistant Secretary of Defense and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver made the observation in reaction to the plan of the Department of National Defense (DND) to purchase submarines and some military equipment from Russia.
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‘Procurement of Russian submarines unhealthy for Philippine-US alliance’
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - August 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Acquiring submarines and other big-ticket military platforms – including weapons systems – from Russia is unhealthy to the alliance between the Philippines and the United States, a US defense official said yesterday.

US Assistant Secretary of Defense and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver made the observation in reaction to the plan of the Department of National Defense (DND) to purchase submarines and some military equipment from Russia.

“I think they should think very carefully about that. If they would have (to) proceed with procurement of major Russian equipment, I don’t think that’s a helpful thing to the alliance,” Schriver told journalists at a defense and security roundtable at the US embassy.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who flew to Moscow after his meeting with Schriver earlier yesterday, bared last week Moscow’s offer to provide the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) diesel electric Kilo-Class submarines.

The purpose of Lorenzana’s Moscow trip was not clear but sources said he was set to meet with his Russian counterparts and other top military officials.

Lorenzana also said last week that Russia was offering a soft loan to Manila to bankroll the submarine acquisition.

Prior to facing the media, Schriver said he met with Lorenzana to discuss a wide-range of issues including counter-terrorism cooperation, regional security particularly in the South China Sea issue and a modernization plan for the AFP.

“When you buy weapons systems, particularly major platforms, you’re not just buying capability, you’re investing in a relationship,” Schriver said.

He stressed that US platforms are key to sustaining interoperability between US and Philippine forces.

Schriver also advised the Philippine government to have full understanding of  the nature of the Russian regime.

“I don’t need to go through the full laundry list… Crimea, Ukraine, the chemical attack in the United Kingdom.. So you are investing in not only platforms but making a statement about our relationships,” Schriver said.

Meanwhile, Schriver also said member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are free to engage China in whatever way they want to, including joining a Beijing-led maritime drill in the South China Sea.

But he stressed these countries should have full understanding of China’s real intention in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We understand that China has its own interests to pursue. We think it’s important individual countries, as they make decisions whether to exercise with China or have exchanges, is to understand what China’s aspirations and intents in the region are,” the US official said.

“I think they’ve been transparent in a lot of ways through their behavior that they are not supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific when they challenge aircraft and surface vessels that are making lawful transits,” he pointed out.

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE RANDALL SCHRIVER
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